Capital building: solar initiative a great opportunity for AP

One can work wonders with the technology, says nuclear material expert

March 09, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:48 am IST - VIJAYAWADA:

Nuclear material expert M.R.L.N. Murthy interacting with The Hindu in Vijayawada. —Photo: V. Raju

Nuclear material expert M.R.L.N. Murthy interacting with The Hindu in Vijayawada. —Photo: V. Raju

The building of Amaravati capital city is a great opportunity for Andhra Pradesh to become number one in solar energy not only in the country, but also in the world.

Amaravati can make wonders. Since the city is yet to be built, there is tremendous scope of utilising Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV). BIPVs are photovoltaic material that are used to replace conventional building material, particularly the roof, skylights and facades for the generation of solar energy, says United Nations Industrial Development Organisations (UNIDO) consultant on solar energy and advanced material M.R.L.N. Murthy.

“It is not possible to change the direction of existing building, but new buildings could be constructed as per the requirements,” he explains. Mr. Murthy, a material scientist and an international authority on Silicon production who was here for a workshop spoke to The Hindu on how Andhra Pradesh, which is currently behind other states industrially, could forge ahead by establishing the Vertically Integrated Solar Chain of Industries (VISCI). He said that he was proposing development of VISCI to get ‘grid parity’ which means providing solar energy at the same rate of conventional energy sources. With climate change and fast depleting coal reserves, all the nations are looking to solar energy, the only non-conventional energy source and is the lone solution which is unlimited.

Ambitious target

“The Modi government has set a target of producing one lakh megawatts (MW) of solar power by 2022 (in another six years). About 40 crore solar panels (each having the capacity of 200 watts) are needed to meet the goal. The cost of the panels would be about Rs. 5 lakh crore. And by 2031-32 India would require one million MW to reach the set target,” he said.

“It is not possible for India to meet these targets unless it was able to produce its own silicon wafers. As of now, it is not producing even a single gram. Wafers are being imported.” According to projections, the cost of conventional energy, that was Rs.3.75 a unit in 2011, would increase to Rs. 8.74 a unit. The cost of solar energy, which was 11.24 a unit in 2011, would fall to Rs. 6 a unit by 2022, he said.

But there was a need to access the latest technologies –sand to silicon—which was hitherto not available in India. Another requirement to achieve grid parity was acquiring the state-of-the-art technologies to attain 20 per cent high efficiency cells and modules and the production of silicon and solar cells on economy of scales, Mr. Murthy explained.

As part of its ‘Make in India’ programme, the Modi government was willing to give between 30 and 35 per cent as one-time subsidy for the setting up of VISCI manufacturing plants for the production of silicon, wafers, cells and modules.

Different states in the country were trying to get the benefit already. It would be a great opportunity for Andhra Pradesh to take initiative in this regard, he said.

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