Thinking like an environmentalist and as a solar evangelist, I would prefer India to reduce its dependency on coal drastically and switch over to SUN immediately to combat Climate Change. Here is the Dilemma! As a socio-economic activist, we I prefer to accelerate it’s Development, by any energy means, of all of its 300 Million people who still depend on fuelwood. We want Accelerated Environmentally Friendly Economic Development.
Both Solar and Wind suffer immensely from realtime generation issues. Due to which we do need an supplement source of power to Solar. Solar alone can’t power up India. And our planet can’t afford India to burn more coal. How much coal can we spare to burn and for how long?
We need to burn coal to supply the power during hours when Sun or Wind is not available. One might assume during Sun peak hours we can completely generate our energy through Solar. But it’s not so. As Sun’s intensity is not same during the day and it’s position changes with seasons, we do need to have some amount of energy from fossil Fuels as a supplementary source of energy to Solar Power. In a grid-tie solar PV system, the solar generation is shut off if there is no electricity from grid. For Solar to work, Coal has to be burned.
During Sun Peak hours of 8.00am to 4.00pm, we can have Sun produce unto 80% of the load and the remaining 20% could come from thermal as a supplement. A cheaper and better Storage technology can completely replace the Thermal generation, but its not in the offing.
Today even in cities like Hyderabad,Delhi and Bangalore, we have power cuts during daytime when there are peak load demands. During power cuts, rooftop solar can’t generate decentralized power for your building, due to which it doesn’t makes Solar Generation/Rs invested a commercially viable solution. If India wants to combat Climate change, we do need to accelerate Burning Coal and make sure we give 8 hours of uninterrupted power supply during morning hours. Tier I cities first, followed by other cities, towns and our villages.
Once Solar is generating most of our power requirements, India can start reducing its energy dependance on Coal. But until then lets expedite Coal Burning!