Agri-voltaic system : Potential green energy technology for Manipur

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Yumnam Jekender Singh & RK Tiwari

There is power production of 58303.35 MW from renewable energy sources in the country. The solar energy production is 13114.85 MW in the country. The nation has a target of 100 gigawatt solar energy production by 2022. For this target (100 GW), there will be need of Rs 5 trillion. In most part of the country, the solar radiations are 5.6 kWh/ m2/day. Manipur has longitude of 93054’19.7’’ and latitude of 24048’8’’. In Imphal (Manipur) at an altitude of 762 m above mean sea level, temperature ranges 15.9-32.1 0C and annual irradiance varies 2.16-7.63 kWh/m2/day. The clear sunny days are 129, average rainfall is 1581mm and average clear sunshine hour are 1345.7.

Agri-voltaic is the improved technology in which the installing solar panels and undertaking farming at one time on the same land. This serves two major purposes of electricity generation and crop cultivation. The income from selling of Photo-volatic generated electricity from one acre land area would be about Rs 7.6 lakh per year. The power can be used for irrigation pumps and additional power can be given to power grid. In one acre (4047 m2) cultivated land which consists of 63 x 63 m size field, 36 solar panels with silicon polycrystalline cells are arranged in a row along 63 m with zero inclination (horizontal) with a total of 1944 solar panels covering one acre of land. There are 18 rows lying adjacent to the other along 63 m lengthwise. Each rows contains a set of 3 solar panels. The solar panels may be placed 5 m above the ground level. The solar panels may be placed in different configurations with 7.6 m and 11.4 m pitch values and if suitable based on topography solar these can also be arranged like chess board pattern with air gaps between the set of solar panels. These may reduce solar radiations on crops by 25-30%, 20-25% and 60-80%, respectively corresponding to 7.6, 11.4 m pitch and chess board pattern. Thus the reduction in the noon time may be favourable for crop growth resulting better yield. The farmers will be able to use land for dual purpose, namely to continue the cultivation normally on the ground surface and also use same farming land for power generation. Thus 4.5 acre cultivable will be sufficient for production of 1 MW power which will be additional asset for normal crop production. The partial use of power will serve the irrigation requirement by installing solar water pumping system of 1000 Watt capacity for drawing and pumping 40,000 litres of water per day from hydraulic head of 10 m. This will be sufficient to irrigate 2 acres of land with regular crops. A solar pumping system (1000 W) can ensure Rs 45000 as compared to diesel operated pump over a year. The special NEH region subsidy will be boon for Start Up entreprenurs for adoption of Agrivolatic technology of dual purpose in Manipur. The PV module will cost 54% of total system cost and civil work including mounting of structures will be 16% of agrovoltaic system. Thus total system cost excluding land cost will be Rs 6.5 crore for 1 MW requiring 4.5 acre land.

But for one acre agricultural land, capital investment of Rs 1.0 crore will be required to install agri-voltaic system of 100 kW for dual purpose which provide electricity to the tune of Rs 7.6 lakh and payback period for system will be 13.15 years against the total life of 25 years. In last 11.85 years out of 25 years system life, accrued benefits will be Rs 90 lakh in addition to the benefit from crops grown in one acre area from one acre land.

Source: The Sangai Express

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