December 28, 2011 - Solar power is a clean energy source. But in this arid part of northwest India it can also be a dusty one.
Every five days or so, in a marriage of low and high tech, field hands with long-handled dust mops wipe down each of the 36,000 solar panels at a 63-acre installation operated by Azure Power. The site is one of the biggest examples of India’s ambitious plan to use solar energy to help modernize its notoriously underpowered national electricity grid, and reduce its dependence on coal-fired power plants.
Azure Power has a contract to provide solar-generated electricity to a state-government electric utility. Inderpreet Wadhwa, Azure’s chief executive, predicted that within a few years solar power would be competitive in price with India’s conventionally generated electricity.
“The efficiency of solar technology will continue to increase, and with the increasing demand in solar energy, cost will continue to decrease,” Mr. Wadhwa said.
Two years ago, Indian policy makers said that by the year 2020 they would drastically increase the nation’s use of solar power from virtually nothing to 20,000 megawatts — enough electricity to power the equivalent of up to 15 million modern American homes during daylight hours when the panels are at their most productive. Many analysts said it could not be done. But, now the doubters are taking back their words. read more>>>