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Solar power best option feels scientists

According to reports, harnessing solar energy through solar photo-voltaic batteries is the only alternative to addressing the power shortage and protecting the natural resources in the country, Ashok Jhunjhunwala of IIT-Madras has said.

The professor of electrical engineering was delivering the AV Rama Rao Technology Award Lecture on the occasion of the National Technological Day after receiving the AV Rama Rao Technology Award at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) here on Saturday.

Speaking on ‘Can we dream of 50 per cent of India’s power in 2030 from Solar PV and Decentralised Approach: Game Changer?’, he said that his team had been working to find out some feasible solutions to the power crisis by promoting solar energy across all the sectors.

On power consumption in the agricultural sector, Jhunjhunwala, a Padmasri recipient, said there were about 1.60 crore agricultural pumpsets in India and most of the farmers enjoyed either subsidised or free power. “In India subsidies are given to have short-term political gains, but governments must encourage permanent solutions.

With power being supplied for just a couple of hours to the farm sector in India, many farmers are using high horse power pumpsets to pump out maximum quantum of water within the short time of supply. The government must promote solar power in farming operations by supplying the equipment at subsidised price initially to enable farmers to pump out water for about 10 hours a day. The government should also encourage the drip irrigation system for effective utilisation of water available,’’ he said.

Dividing the power consumers into four groups _ domestic, industrial, agricultural and commercial, Jhunjhunwala said most of the electrical and electronic appliances used in India needed power conversion from AC to DC which resulted in a power loss of about 20 per cent. This loss can be avoided by producing DC power through solar PV. He advised that solar panels be set up at all offices, commercial spaces, houses and industries to harvest solar power to address the power crisis.

Former IICT director AV Rama Rao, in whose name the award was instituted in 2004, presented the award to Jhunjhunwala. IICT director M Lakshmikantam, chief scientist (head of business development) NV Satyanarayana, head of lipid science & technology RBN Prasad, outstanding scientist Ahmed Kamal and others were present.

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