With the increasing depletion of non-renewable energy resources like coal, solar energy provides the option of an energy source that will never get exhausted. As the world is engineering ways to harness this untapped resource, India, and especially Haryana, is also slated to step on to the wagon. But is Haryana ready for powering its towns and villages with solar energy? Isn't the move to make solar energy mandatory for certain buildings somewhat premature?
The government in Haryana has been funding heavily on the use of solar power technology. However, the purchase of solar photovoltaic machines and their installations entail high capital costs, which may put a major financial burden on the state. Moreover, the per-unit cost of solar power is more than that of conventional power sources like coal. According to a report, power generated using coal in India costs Rs. 2 per unit, whereas a kilowatt hour of solar generated power costs Rs. 11-12. Can the people of rural Haryana afford this high electricity cost for their irrigation and farming needs? It is evident that the solar technology available currently is still not cost-effective for large-scale installations, no matter how much funding the government may provide.
Another challenge for installing solar cells in Haryana is its weather. Granted, the summer months get ample sunshine, but rain cannot always be predicted. In 2013, the state had erratic rainfall and hailstorm, due to which wheat production was adversely affected. The technology design of solar power generation system is based on correct forecasts, and if the weather becomes unpredictable, the system will not perform to its optimum. This unreliability, if not addressed by the solar power generation system, may not be good for Haryana.
The solar power infrastructure depends on the amount of sunlight the photovoltaic cells receive. In case of cloudy skies, or even some distortion in the temperature, the sun's rays will not be uniform, leading to disrupted power supply. During such times, buildings in Haryana will eventually need to turn to other modes of generating electricity. Thus, the question remains: is the infrastructure for harnessing solar energy strong enough for consistent power generation?
In addition to the challenges already mentioned, Haryana faces the issue of spreading awareness. With most of the people staying in rural areas, where education and income are limited, introduction of an innovative technology like solar power and its complicated installation and maintenance may be quite a challenge. Along with this, solar power technology is a comparatively new field, and its knowledge is limited among scientists and engineers. Training locals, then, will require much time and patience.
In conclusion, Haryana's future does seem brighter with solar power installations. But, owing to the currently available restricted infrastructure and limited understanding of solar technology, it is rather premature to be implemented on a large scale, let alone be made mandatory.