The telecom regulator in India has recently recommended in its approach document towards green telecom in India that in the next five years, at least 50% of all rural towers and 33% of the urban towers are to be powered by hybrid power-by 2015, while all rural towers and 50% of urban towers are to be hybrid powered by 2020.
Small solar-wind hybrid systems are also catching up for specific applications in India including big farm houses that do not have access to reliable grid connected power.
Panchabuta has often opined that, the Indian Railways and the defence sector apart from the telecom sector offer huge opportunities to entrepreneurs in the clean energy, off grid solar, hybrid custom solutions space.
Companies like Luminous recently designed, manufactured and installed off-grid and grid connected wind-solar hybrid power plants. Panchabuta has earlier talked about Luminous’s pioneering effort in small wind turbine business in India and its installation of wind-solar hybrid.
According to reports, a team led by Heriot-Watt University has received £1.3m from the EPSRC to develop an integrated power system that uses multiple intermittent renewable sources to produce a continuous flow of energy.
The idea is to use solar power during the day and match it with biomass generation from local sources of organic material during the night. Any excess solar electricity can be stored by using it to produce hydrogen for emergency use.
‘One of the main problems in renewable energy is all sources are intermittent,’ said project lead Dr Tapas Mallick of Heriot-Watt’s Scottish Institute for Solar Energy Research.
‘What we want to achieve is using two different renewable sources so that the power supply for a remote village will run 24/7.’
The Heriot-Watt team is developing novel solar concentrator technology that it hopes will have a relatively high efficiency of 30–35 per cent.
Partners at Leeds University are working on the biomass plant and researchers at Nottingham University are studying metal hydride-based solutions for hydrogen storage.
This technology will then need to be integrated into a 15–20kW system that the team hopes will be able to provide a small amount of electricity — enough to power two lightbulbs and a fan — for 80 households.
Much of this work will be carried out by the team’s partners at Visva-Bharati University in West Bengal, India.
The project will last three years, including six months testing the final system, and the UK funding will be matched by around 90 million rupees (£1.25m) from India.