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CSMCRI scales up output by upto 50% by retrofitting Solar PV Panel with reflectors

According to reports, Bhavnagar-based Central Salt and Marine Chemicals and Research Institute (CSMCRI) has successfully scaled up power output of conventional silicon solar panels by nearly 50 per cent, so as to bring down the effective cost of energy generation.

“Through strategic usage of reflectors we have managed to raise power output of conventional silicon solar panels by about 50 per cent. During the peak hours say between 12.00 to 1.00 power output gets doubled with reflectors, while over the day it’s up nearly by fifty per cent,” CSMCRI Director Dr Pushpito Ghosh told PTI.

The technology has potential to bring down effective cost of per kilowatt of electrical energy generation from solar panels by about 30 per cent, he claimed.

“The feat was achieved by retrofitting photo voltaic panel units. The units were fitted with reflectors to enhance the power output without tinkering the panel,” Ghosh said.

“Usage of reflectors to enhance power output of panels has been demonstrated by research institutes of countries like Spain and Israel, but none have been able to scale them up for commercial applications,” he said.

The institute has initiated the process of getting the technology patented.

“We have filed patent application for the technology in India and shall also be later on filing international patents for it,” Ghosh said.

“The challenge of this technology is to control temperature levels since high light falls on the panels and they tend to heat up,” Ghosh said adding that to control panel temperatures during gruelling heat conditions prevalent in states like Rajasthan was still more challenging.

Using one of the methods CSMCRI has been able to filter out the unwanted radiations falling on panels, while in another method it has used some phase change material on backside of the panels to gain temperature control.

“For temperature control we have managed to filter out the unnecessary radiations falling on the panel. So a system is developed where the temperature shall not exceed a key or specified limit,” Ghosh said.

The method of filtering unwanted radiation falling on the panels with the usage of reflectors has been published in Solar Energy journal, the official journal of international solar energy society.

“The field trials of phase change methodology for temperature control shall commence between March and June this year,” he said.

The project is funded by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of Science and Technology and partly by few private organisations.

The retrofitted PV units shall first find application in solar-run RO desalination plant installed by the institute in Rajasthan.

The first brackish water solar run RO desalination plant was installed in Kotri village of Rajasthan by CSMCRI. Such plants operate on around 3KW PV assembly units.

“Five more such RO plants funded by the Coca-Cola foundation will be installed near Sambhar lake in Rajasthan in partnership with Forrat (an NGO which serves as a wing of the Barefoot college in Ajmer), as the concept is good,” Ghosh said.

 There are a number of research initiatives in the lab stage now where models are being developed for solar powered low cost stand alone distributed water purification systems. Some of the models have now moved to pilot projects like the one above.

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