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Mini Solar Panels in India: Can they be a game changer in energy sector?

Mini Solar Panels: As the world continues shifting towards renewable energy sources, mini solar panels have emerged as a promising alternative to traditional solar panels for residential and commercial applications. These smaller panels, which can range in size from 0.6 x 2.55 inches to 8.85 x 5.12 inches, are gaining popularity in India, a country blessed with ample sunlight and a need for sustainable energy solutions.

The Indian government has also recognized the potential of renewable energy and has set a goal of increasing the country’s share of renewable power generation to over one-third by 2030. Mini solar panels are playing an integral role in achieving this goal, providing a cost-effective and efficient solution to the country’s energy needs.

According to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) of India, solar energy has had a significant impact on India’s energy scenario in recent years. This has led to various social and economic benefits, including a reduction in drudgery among rural women and girls who previously had to collect fuel wood from long distances and cook in smoky kitchens. It has also resulted in the minimization of the risks of contracting lung and eye ailments, employment generation at the village level, and ultimately, an improvement in the standard of living and creation of opportunities for economic activities at the village level.

Mini solar panels vs. traditional solar panels

While traditional solar panels are typically seen on rooftops and solar farms, mini solar panels offer several advantages. They are smaller and more flexible, making them ideal for off-grid and decentralized applications, especially in rural areas where traditional power sources are scarce. They can also be easily integrated into a variety of products, including backpacks, mobile phones, and wearable devices.

Another advantage of mini solar panels is their lower cost. Traditional solar panels can be expensive to install and maintain, making them less accessible for residential and commercial applications. On the other hand, Mini solar panels are more affordable and can be easily replaced if damaged.

The potential of mini solar panels in India

India has significant potential for renewable energy projects, and mini solar panels are a key part of this. With over 8,000 km of coastline and ample sunlight, the country is in a prime position to take advantage of solar energy. Mini solar panels offer a cost-effective solution to meet the energy needs of rural communities, which have limited access to traditional power sources.

According to a study published in the Journal of Physics: Conference Series, limitations in technical feasibility and financial resources for the expansion of the electrical grid in rural regions result in a high unemployment rate and minimal industrial growth. The low per capita energy consumption and low per-capita income in remote and rural regions are appropriate for decentralized small-scale photovoltaic applications, which have become a promising alternative towards energy reliance in rural India. Photovoltaic systems are economical and could form the entry point for renewable energy applications in India. In addition to fulfilling energy needs, photovoltaic systems provide scope for rural development in the socio-cultural context.

According to the Impact Assessment of the National Solar Pumps Programme by Shakti Foundation in 2018, solar-powered pumps are increasingly being adopted across the country. It is estimated that the cost of power for irrigation accounts for 20-40 per cent of production costs in agriculture. Grid-connected pumps consume 85 million tons of coal per annum and diesel pumps consume 3.1 per cent of national diesel consumption. The adoption of solar-powered pumps has the potential to reduce these costs and make irrigation more sustainable.

How the promotion of solar power and renewable energy solve several problems in India

In India, where renewable energy is becoming increasingly important, mini solar panels offer a cost-effective and efficient solution to the country’s energy needs. By reducing dependence on traditional power sources, mini solar panels are helping to improve the standard of living for rural residents and create opportunities for economic activities at the village level. As the country continues to shift towards renewable energy, mini solar panels will play an integral role in achieving its energy goals and improving the lives of its citizens.

According to a study published in Energy, Sustainability and Society, although India has achieved fast and remarkable economic growth, energy is still scarce. The country faces the challenge of sustainable development due to the increasing population and environmental deterioration. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), also says renewable energy can fulfil a quarter of India’s energy demand. A well-defined regulatory framework and comprehensive policies can encourage private players to invest in the sector and make the small-scale usage of renewable energy such as solar power, a viable option. The country should take measures to attract private investors, and regulatory authorities should formulate the necessary standards and regulations for hybrid systems. 

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