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Council of Scientific & Industrial Research and Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-CMERI) has jointly developed the world’s largest solar tree at CSIR-CMERI Residential Colony in Durgapur (West Bengal).
The solar tree has been designed in a manner to ensure maximum exposure of each solar photovoltaic (PV) panel to sunlight and also the creation of the least amount of shadow area beneath. There is a total of 35 solar PV panels in each tree with a capacity of 330 wp each. The inclination of the arms holding the solar PV Panels are flexible and can be adjusted as per requirement, a feature that is not available in roof-mounted solar facilities. The energy generation data can be monitored either in real-time or daily.
Dr. Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-CMERI, while elaborating about the technology stated, “The installed capacity of the solar tree is above 11.5 kWp. It has the annual capacity to generate 12,000-14,000 units of clean and green Power”.
Dr. Hirani further elaborated, “The CSIR-CMERI developed solar tree besides being the world’s largest solar tree also has certain customisable features for application at diverse sites. The solar trees were designed in a manner to ensure minimum shadow area, thus, potentially making these solar trees available for widespread usage in agricultural activities such as high-capacity pumps, e-tractors and e-power tillers.”
These solar trees can be aligned with agriculture for substituting price-volatile fossil fuels. Each solar tree has the potential to save 10-12 tonnes of CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere as greenhouse gases when compared with fossil fuel-fired energy generation. Besides, the surplus generated power can be fed into an energy grid.
This agricultural model can provide a consistent economic return and help the farmers counter the effects of the uncertain variations in agriculture-related activities, thus, making farming an economic and energy sustainable practice.
Each solar tree will cost Rs 750,000 and the interested micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can align their business model with the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM KUSUM) Scheme for farmers, for developing a renewable energy-based energy grid.
The solar tree can incorporate internet of things (IoT)-based features, i.e., round-the-clock CCTV surveillance in farms, soil analytics as well as real-time updates on humidity, wind speed and rainfall. The CSIR-CMERI developed solar-powered e-Suvidha Kiosks may also be connected to the solar trees for real-time access to the vast majority of the agricultural database as well as to the National Agricultural Market (eNAM) for instant and real-time access to a unified online market.