Bengaluru is famous for its pleasant weather which makes anyone fall in love with the city. The mornings and evenings are usually chilly and air conditioning is an unwanted luxury. Apart from a few days of summer, even ceiling fans are absolutely unnecessary. This type of climate can be a pleasant experience for joggers and walkers of all age groups. As the name suggests, garden city Bengaluru has canopies of trees and shrubs at sides of roads and has parks and gardens across the city. During the monsoon, the plants become lush and green making the city look even more ravishing and keeping it cooler.
Bengalureans are fortunate to experience favorable climate throughout the year when compared to other parts of the country. Although the city is getting warmer recently due to deforestation and the surge in population, Bengaluru still has an equable climate because of its elevated position. The city is reported to be approximately 950 meters above sea level and is at the centre of the southern peninsula and benefits from the Arabian Sea monsoons and Bay of Bengal monsoons. Moreover, studies show that Bengaluru also receives rains from the cyclones that hit the Odisha, Andhra Pradhesh and Tamil Nadu coasts, which is another contributing factor to the overall pleasantness of the city.
Bengaluru's wettest months are August, September and October and the winter climate in December and January makes the evenings cool but the days can be warm with blue skies and sunny weather. The summer in Bengaluru is abated by the following monsoon season; however, the rainfall usually happens in the late afternoon and/or evenings and rarely lasts the whole day. Installation of solar panels might seem impractical to many Bengalureans who are accustomed to this kind of weather. Nevertheless, it is unknown to many that solar photovoltaic systems can perform better at moderate temperatures.
There are a lot of misconceptions about solar energy and it is only reasonable to be concerned and curious about something so unconventional. Therefore, it is important to understand how solar panel works. When the solar panel receives sunlight, it converts the solar energy into usable electrical energy which in turn illuminates the LED. The most significant factor to remember here is the solar panels harness only the sunlight and not the heat. How much electricity is being generated by the panel depends on the temperature of the sunlight, the wind speed, intensity and angle of sunlight, solar panel type, shading or any obstructions and total sunlight hours per day.
The efficiency of a solar panel is known to be inversely proportional to its temperature beyond a certain limit as the panels run at a higher temperature than their surrounding temperature. Once the panel temperature is above an optimum of 45 degree Celsius, the power generation efficiency tends to reduce (known as ‘temperature derating factor’). Due to this, the panel efficiency can be slightly affected during the summer season but additional sunlight hours and higher wind speeds can help the panels produce more energy as windy days can improve the panel efficiency and counteract the temperature derating factor.
Contrary to popular belief, winters work the best for solar panels as the panel temperature is closest to the optimal temperature during winters. In the course of rainy season, the panels may not be able to produce much electricity and the output can reduce in overcast conditions. However, the city gets only intermittent rainfall and the panels receive sufficient amount of sunlight to function even during rainy seasons. The power generation efficiency also depends on the type of solar panels; for example, high-efficient monocrystalline solar panels are capable of handling temperature changes better than their polycrystalline counterparts.
As per the press release by BIAL (Bangalore International Airport Limited), Kempegowda International Airport has been able to meet almost 67% of its annual energy requirement by converting their high-pressure sodium vapor lamps into solar lamps. Energy-efficient solar street lights with inbuilt battery and panel are replacing perimeter lighting and airfield lights to offer safety for pilots and enhanced visibility for ground staff.
According to authorities, the airport is aiming at further reducing its reliance on non-renewable energy and the security cabins and cafeterias have already adapted solar energy with the help of solar lights and solar water heating system. Presently, both roof top solar panels and ground-mounted panels help to harness solar energy to generate around 47 lakh units of electricity per year and it is speculated that approximately 3800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced annually as a result of the new solar plants at the airport.
Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) recently made news when it called tenders for solar panel installation with plans to reduce its annual expenses and to minimize the losses incurred. The Corporation aims at powering around 45 bus depots and stations by 2021-22 utilizing solar power and other establishments and workshops within the premises will be able to benefit from this.
Bengaluru devours more than 50% of the total power generated in Karnataka. Keeping this alarming fact in mind, BESCOM (Bangalore Electricity Supply Company) has appointed a committee to look into suitable models for tapping solar energy in a bigger level and to create a feasible module to be implemented across the city. BESCOM has already conducted surveys with the help of Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) and Centre for Study of Science Technology and Policy (CSTEP) to discover the roof top potential of Bengaluru.
Many apartment complexes and individual houses in Bengaluru are embracing the benefits of solar energy by installing solar-powered equipment. In fact, even the government and other regulatory authorities are encouraging the house owners to utilize their roof space for solar power generation. In old Bangalore, many vegetable vendors also count on solar energy and use solar emergency lamps to run their businesses.
Solar garden lights and solar flashlights can be used in the city’s parks and recreational green spaces and solar-powered street lights can illuminate the city’s roads and commercial spaces. Solar lights are available in a lot of variety and wattage and one can choose according to their requirements for both public and private lighting. Outdoor solar lights do not need grid dependency or cable work making the installation process very simple. These motion sensor or timer based lights are safe, economical, energy saving and pollution reducing. Solar lights operate automatically with in-built intelligence and require not much maintenance. The biggest advantage in installing these lights is that the city will continue to be a safe place for commuters even during power outages.
Considering all the above facts, Bengaluru is one of the ideal cities to switch to solar energy with its year-round moderate temperature and high wind speeds. With around 280 sunny days, Bengaluru can take advantage of these positives and shift to solar energy in the coming years. Taking note of the increasing energy consumption and power costs, solar is the perfect answer to Bengaluru’s rising energy demands.