Weekly Current Affairs

Dr. Harsh Vardhan launches the ‘Solar Power Tree’ – an Innovation aimed at utilizing minimum land to harness maximum Solar Energy [S&T]

  • Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, launched the ‘Solar Power Tree’. It has been developed by the CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI), a constituent laboratory of Council of Scientifi c and Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • The Solar Power Tree harnesses solar energy for producing electricity with an innovative vertical arrangement of solar cells. It thus reduces the requirement of land as compared to conventional Solar Photovoltaic layout, on one hand, while keeping the land character intact on the other.
  • Even the cultivable land can be utilized for solar energy harnessing along with farming at the same time. The innovation fi nds its viability both in rural and urban areas.
  • In order to produce 1 MW of solar power it requires about 3.5 acres of land in the conventional layout of solar panels. Thus, for any State in the country to survive on green energy, there will be requirement of thousands of acres of land. Acquisition of land is a major issue in itself.
  • The device has been functioning effectively at three places in West Bengal as a pilot project.
  • As a future prospect, the Solar Power Tree would be developed in a rotatable module, which would have a motorized mechanism to align itself with the movement of the Sun during the day. Hence, it would be possible to harness 10-15% more power over and above the current capacity.
  • The Salient Features of the Solar Power Tree are:
    • It takes only 4 square feet of land for a 5 KW Solar Power tree, whereas in a conventional layout, it requires 400 square feet of land.
    • By holding the photovoltaic panels at a higher height, on an average it gets more sunrays for one hour in a day. As a result, it is possible to harness 10- 15% more power in comparison to a conventional layout on ground.
    • It has a battery back-up of 2 hours on full load, hence giving light even after sunset.
    • It is facilitated with water sprinkler at the top for self-cleaning of panels, that increases the effi ciency of the solar panels.
    • The estimated cost of the device is around Rs. 5 Lakh for a 5 KW specifi cation.