In a world of exhausted fossil fuels, solar panels can provide a sustainable solution to energy problems. However, they also come up with a couple of issues for one, solar farms are massive and they to be set up somewhere that gets a lot of sunlight. Now, if only we had a large mass of unused land, that gets guaranteed sunlight every day. Could we cover an entire desert in solar panels and would that be enough to power the whole word? This is what if and here is what would happen, if we covered the Thar Desert with solar panels.
The Thar Desert, also known as The Great Indian Desert, is a largely arid region in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent that forms a natural boundary between India and Pakistan. It is the world’s 17th largest desert and the world’s 9th largest subtropical desert. If we covered the Thar Desert with just 1.2 per cent of the large land on the sand in solar panels, we could harness enough power to meet the energy needs of the entire country. How would we overcome the obstacles? How could this project change the climate of the desert?
Usually, a solar farm is build to prevent changes to the environment, but if we built one in the Thar Desert, it might cause some changes of its own. If we lined the desert floor with giant solar panels, it would double the rainfall in the region and increase vegetation cover by about 20 per cent. It sounds a little unbelievable and appears to be a miracle, but you look at the benefits then you can get a clear picture. Thar sand is usually light in colour, which means it tends to reflect a lot of light and heat back up in the air, if we covered the sand in dark solar panels and the ground temperature would increase warmer air rises to areas in the atmosphere, where it’s cooler and moisture and there it condenses and falls as rains.
Before you knew it, one of the most extreme climates on Earth would undergo a significant makeover. To provide sustainable energy solutions, but also add much-needed greenery to our largest desert, then why we wait so long and make our dreams of having continuous power supply through solar energy. We may now think why we have not this already and solved our power problem. It may appear little more complicated than it appears to be.
For one thing, it is great to produce enough energy power to the country but then you have to worry about how you are going to get it in our daily usage. The most likely place this energy would travel to first Central India. Energy so produced can be used for our indigenous requirement in the industry and the need for coal, electricity, and diesel can be curtailed to the minimum. We should have the will to do it.
Currently, electrical grids in India are not reliable and they are wide and far away and it is somewhat difficult to get where they need to go. Transporting power over long distances leads to power loss up to 10 per cent, which cost most dear and the struggle for energy would go on. It would probably better to attempt it on a small scale first and assess the success and make an all-out attempt to try on a larger scale. Solar panels have come up in Pune, Manipal, Bengaluru, and some other southern states as well and other places in India as well. It is time to start the process from grass root level from housing societies and save energy to the hilt. We all need to make the solar endeavour a popular one and gain the optimum benefit of lower cost once it is established.
(This is the first part of the Diary and the latter part will continue tomorrow.)
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)