Bengaluru to use aircraft to design roadmap for rooftop solar generation

The Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM) has signed an agreement with Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) and Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL) to design a roadmap to boost the quantum of power generated using solar energy.

bangalore aircraft solar

A senior official from BESCOM’s Demand Side Management department mentioned that “The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has set a target of 2300 MW of rooftop PV installations for Karnataka by 2022. If we have to achieve this, we will have to analyze where so much energy can be generated.”

At present, BESCOM generates around 14.8 MW of solar energy from 524 solar rooftop plants mounted across the eight districts it caters to. But this is woefully short of the target set by the Central and State governments. The target for Bengaluru alone is expected to be 1GW9.

The one-year project will see the use of ranging (LIDAR) and light detection technology, and is touted to be the first such exercise in India. For this, a small helicopter will fly over the city, sending pulses of light, which will get reflected back from objects on the ground. The received reflected light will be translated into data points, which in turn will accurately map the rooftop area available in the city for generation of solar energy.

Saptak Ghosh, Research Scientist, CSTEP said, “It is basically a sophisticated GIS mapping exercise. LIDAR will be used to create a digital surface model (DSM) for the city. We need to know which rooftop is suitable across various categories – domestic, industrial etc., and also analyses and improve the existing distribution network infrastructure. Solar energy is fluctuating and its impact on distribution transformers has to be studied. Shadow is not a concern for ground-mounted solar plants, but even a small shadow can wreak havoc on generation from rooftop PV plants and destroy the associated business case.”

Vouching for the accuracy of the digital map, he further added that even thin cables can be visualized. “Solar geometry calculations will then be carried out to estimate the movement of shadows across the year. The system design will be optimized based on these parameters,” Mr. Saptak Ghosh added.

The one-year SOLAR project will commence in September. First, tenders will be floated to conduct aerial photography and mapping. Once the vendor is selected, the aerial photographs will be made available in four months. As the exercise involves getting clearances from multiple agencies, including the Directorate General of Civil Aviation and the defence establishments in the city, the aerial images are expected to be available for testing by March 2017.

Source: TheHindu

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