Professor M.M. Goel*
(Asian independent) Being needonomist, I support Prime Minister Narendra Modi for calling “solar energy as sure, pure and secure. It is sure because other sources of energy might be depleted but not of the sun. It is pure because it helps the environment instead of polluting it and secure because it is a symbol of self-reliance,” while inaugurating Asia’s biggest–750 MW solar power plant in Rewa ,Madhya Pradesh via video conferencing on July 10,2020.
We need to know that solar energy is used today in a number of ways :as heat for making hot water, heating buildings and cooking, generate electricity with solar cells or heat engines, take the salt away from sea water, use sun rays for drying clothes and towels and used by plants for the process of photosynthesis. Solar energy is a clean source. No greenhouse gas emissions are released into the atmosphere when you use solar panels to create electricity. And because the sun provides more energy than we need, electricity from solar power is a very important energy source in the move to clean energy production. We have all seen solar panels adorning an increasingly large number of roofs. Not just on homes but offices, factories, railway stations and many others. We can fly a plane ,power a stadium., cook a meal up, purify water for drinking. It simply makes use of an endless store of energy the sun makes available to us every day. Using solar energy for transportation, battery charging, heating, lighting, or electricity can reduce monthly bills, help save the environment, and put us in control of our energy prices for years to come. The major advantage of solar energy is renewable energy source. To keep food safe and consistently cool, refrigerators require access to a continuous power supply which is possible with the right solar power configuration and power requirement calculations; we should be able to run any refrigerator with solar power.
It is relevant here to quote PM of India “whether it is Swachh Bharat (Clean India) campaign or campaign to provide LPG and PNG to every family or building the network of CNG-based transport system across the country or efforts for electricity-based transport in the country, several such measures are being undertaken for making the lives of people better in an environment-friendly manner,”
PM said why environment protection and ease of living are being given preference in all government programmes. “For us, protection of the environment is not confined to a few projects but it is a way of life. When we are launching big projects of renewable energy, we are trying to ensure that our resolve towards clean energy is reflected in every aspect of our life, and also our efforts are to see that its benefit goes to every citizen, every class and every part of the country.”
PM observed that 360 million LED bulbs have been distributed across the country and over 10 million fitted in street lights over the last six years. He added prices of LED bulbs were once beyond the common man’s reach. In the past six years, the prices have reduced 10 times and people were now using 9-10 watt instead of 100-200 watt bulbs, The consumption of power has been reduced by 6 billion units and people save Rs 24,000 crore annually. It has also prevented 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the environment and thus pollution level came down.
PM cited the government’s policy on solar power and added the price of solar energy has come down to Rs 2-2.50 per unit from Rs 7-8 per unit in 2014. It has benefitted industries, employment generation, and people. “There is a discussion going on in the entire world as to how solar energy is so low-priced in India. When there is a discussion on renewable energy in the world, India is being seen as a model.”
The solar power potential cannot be utilised completely till the country has better solar panels, battery, and storage capacity. “Work is going on in this direction. The country’s aim under Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan is to do away with our dependence on imports for various hardware including solar panels. Necessary steps are being taken to enhance the manufacturing of solar PV modules.”
PM rightly asked the entrepreneurs, youths, and start-ups to take advantage of the country’s potential in the solar energy field. “It has been made mandatory to use solar photovoltaic cells and modules made in India in pumps under Kusum [Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan] scheme and rooftop panels on houses. It has been decided that the government departments and other government institutions will only purchase made in India solar cells or modules. At the same time, the government is encouraging the companies which are setting up power plants to manufacture solar photovoltaic.”
To change the fate of Indian economy in post covid era, we need to adapt solar energy as a way of life. This certainly calls for understanding, analysing, interpreting the assertion of the PM “Solar energy is sure, pure and secure”. The uses of solar energy must become a mass movement among the Indian masses for facing the challenges of power shortage, environmental pollution, global warming and climate change.
* Former Vice Chancellor and Needonomist Professor retired from Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. Enjoy surfing the website www.needonomics.com