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The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library


‘Can Decentralised Solar Enable 24x7 Power to Every Home in India? , 16th October, 2014


Solar on home's rooftop can be a game changer for India, if utilised in an unconventional manner. With falling prices and no T&D loss associated with decentralised solar, it could be proliferate quickly to all homes. Problem is that solar PV produces DC power. We convert it to AC, as we use AC appliances. Then we sometime store it in battery, which stores only DC power. We again convert AC to DC. Then when we need to draw power out of the battery, we have to convert back from DC to AC. Each of these convertors, especially for small power is huge loss. That is not all. Most appliances that we use at home (lights, fans and electronics) have far higher energy efficiency, when used with DC power. So when we connect a laptop, we again convert AC to DC with large losses. We need to think afresh. The talk will focus on Solar-DC usage at homes. While it makes huge sense in a national perspective, for individuals home owners, it still requires a PUSH. The talk will present an innovation, which allows a limited amount of grid-power to be made available to each home 24x7. This would also create a huge pull for solar-DC. India has 240 million homes and the homes use 200,000 GWh of total electrical power in a year. A 500W solar panel, at a cost close to ₹25000 would produce enough power form solar for all the home consumptions. It can indeed be a game-changer.


Prof. Jhunjhunwala is an Institute Professor at IIT Madras. He received his B.Tech degree from IIT, Kanpur, and his MS and Ph.D degrees from the University of Maine. From 1979 to 1981, he was with Washington State University and has been at IIT Madras ever-since, where he leads the Telecommunications and Computer Networks group (TeNeT). The group works with industry in the development of telecom, banking, IT and Power Systems (including solar) technologies relevant to India, and has a special focus on rural technologies. It has incubated more than seventy companies in the last twenty years. He chairs IITM Incubation cell, Health Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC), co-chairs Rural Technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) at IIT Madras and is professor in-charge of IITM Research Park. He also chairs a MHRD committee called “Quality Enhancement of Engineering Education (QEEE)” focused on 500 Indian engineering colleges, other than IITs and NITs. He was member of Prime Minister's Scientific Advisory Committee from 2004-14.

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