What is the role of rooftop photovoltaic power station in 100 GW plan in India?« Back to Questions List

A rooftop photovoltaic power station is an electricity producing system erected on the rooftop of a building. It is also known by rooftop PV system and rooftop solar power system. It consists of solar panels, inverters, mounting structure, storage facility and related interconnecting cables. If solar panels are fixed on the rooftop of commercial buildings, they are classified under commercial rooftop photovoltaic power stations. If solar panels are mounted on top of residential buildings, they are classified as residential rooftop photovoltaic power stations. 

 Due to the increasing awareness on global warming and climate change there has been a gradual shift world over, towards renewable energy sources from fossil fuels, for power generation. Renewable energy sources are naturally replenished. Sunlight, wind, waves and tides are major sources of such natural energy. In photovoltaic (PV) method, light energy is converted to electrical energy. The light energy is captured by arranging solar panels.

Initial solar power stations were ground mounted.  Scarcity of land and the increased land cost made the land based projects costly, compelling to look for alternatives. Rooftop photovoltaic power station and flotovoltaics were the two major alternatives. The power generating capacity of rooftop PV station is much less compared to the ground mounted solar power stations as limited solar panels can only be mounted in the first one. 

The Government of India has announced a dream project for setting up solar power stations to generate 100 GW power by 2022. Of this, 60 GW is proposed from utilities and the remaining 40GW from rooftop installation.  This has again brought the rooftop photovoltaic power stations to lime light again.  

The reasons for the government to focus on rooftop photovoltaic power stations are:

•    The method is environment friendly
•    It can support the power supply from grids
•    Electricity can be made available in a cost effective manner even in interior areas of the country  which are difficult to be connected to power grids and 
•    A miniscule of the estimated rooftop solar power of 124GW only is produced as of now. 

While the untapped potential is huge, the challenges to be faced in implementation are also tough.  The efficiency of any solar power station depends on the brightness of sun. On some parts of the country, the strength of sunlight varies even during day time. During night, when the electricity is needed most, sunlight is not at all available. Hence the generated power has to be stored for usage at night. The storage technology for electricity still needs improvement and at present stage, the storage solutions are costly. The total investment in solar panels and storage facility makes it unaffordable for major portion of population. Further, once the solar panels are mounted on rooftop, it becomes unavailable for other purposes. Due to these aspects, government has to focus on improving awareness to make more people to invest in the rooftop photovoltaic power stations. What is meant by flotovoltaics( floating photovoltaics)?

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