Solar or Nuclear for India

Atanu looks at the global energy needs in the future and analyses the option of using solar or nuclear energy for India and concludes:

As far as I am concerned, the answer to the question–solar or nuclear–is a no-brainer. It has to be solar. Otherwise India is up the proverbial creek without a paddle.


10 thoughts on “Solar or Nuclear for India

  1. Cast Your Vote in The Global Competition — Tapping Local Innovation: Unclogging the Water and Sanitation Crisis

    Ashoka’s Changemakers and Global Water Challenge invite you to vote for the most innovative approaches to providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation worldwide.

    We’ve received 265 entries from 54 countries, and 9 finalists were chosen for their pioneering ideas:

    1. Naandi Foundation, India
    2. WaterParterns, United States
    3. City Garbage Recyclers, Kenya
    4. Ecotact – Innovating Sanitation, Kenya
    5. Swayam Shikshan Prayog, India
    6. Himanshu Parikh Consulting Engineers, India
    7. The Clean Shop, South Africa
    8. Centre for Community Organisation and Development, Malawi
    9. Manna Energy Foundation, United States

    Now we need your help: Log onto, read through these inventive solutions and select your 3 favorites by May 11. The three winners will each receive $5,000.

    Your voice is vital. Vote today!

  2. I totally agree with you Vikas, I think solar is the best choice to use solar for greening India. as we all know that india recieves an immense amount of sun light and has highest sunny days and its better to use sun than to spread more pollution with the nuclear stuff.

    With about 200 clear sunny days in a year, India’s theoretical solar power reception, just on its land area, is about 5 EWh/year (i.e. = 5000 trillion kWh/yr ~ 600 TW).[1] [2] The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4 to 7 kWh/m2 with about 2300 – 3200 sunshine hours per year, depending upon location.[1] This is far more than current total energy consumption. For example, even assuming 10% conversion efficiency for PV modules, it will still be thousand times greater than the likely electricity demand in India by the year 2015

  3. India has a lot of potential for solar. But even by adding this all up, it wouldn’t cater to our meager energy needs.

    Solar-fanboys use statements such as “India’s theoretical solar power reception, just on its land area, is about 5 EWh/year”

    Very good. How do you intend to capture all this solar power ? Cover up the whole land surface with solar panels ? With jatropha plants ?

    It is time to grow up and think like reasonable adults.

    Do check my comment on this blog, or better, visit my blog directly.

  4. Currently, the only use for solar is in the reduction of demand during daylight hours. You have to use the power source for what it is best at and in practice it is pretty weak. In an energy starved country like India, it might be worth it for wealthy individuals to outfit their houses with solar in order to deliver a more consistent local supply during daylight hours, but running a grid off of it is prohibitively expensive. Sign the 123 agreement, start trading in nuclear technology. Up a creek with out a paddle? how? Old nuclear technologies have been efficiently and safely delivering power for decades and produced very little waste. New technologies are log units better. Germany has the most installed solar, it hasn’t been working out for them and now with this experience they are starting to turn back to nuclear according to the latest polls. Maybe they are getting tired of having to buy electricity from the French at premium rates. Its all a matter of physics and those constraints won’t yield to debate.

  5. Ken: You are right about the inefficiency of using solar on top of houses as Germany has done. It will not work in India.

    However, that does not mean we need to rule out solar. Solar PV is only one way of doing it. There are many other innovative ideas that are being tested and coming out.

    I believe Solar can and will provide the most carbon free energy in the world in the coming decades.

  6. I guess we have to agree to disagree and see how things churn out. I think that its best use is to strategically reduce demand during peak periods of demand that correspond to the times between 10AM and 2PM. Outside of that period they aren’t at their maximum output, no matter how cloudless the day is. The best hopes are Gen IV reactors and new fuel designs. If you use a tool for something it isn’t suited for it will cost you a lot in the end. For all its appearances otherwise at times, this is a world of limited resources and people and states live and die by how they view marginal differences in different choices. PV production is not benign either. given their very low rates of conversion, this makes the impact they have larger. It takes a while before energy in equals energy out.

  7. Ken:

    That may be so. It’s fine to disagree. The discussion is more important.

    I understand your point on marginal differences. But here is the problem, you are basing your dicussion on only solar PVs.

    Please check this out on Concentrated Solar Power.

    CSP (also search on google) has a lot more potential than PV.

    Firstly, it stores the sun’s energy as heat. And heat is 100 times cheaper to store than electricity. Second, it is easy to transfer heat from one place to another through water or special oils.

    With the ability to store and distribute, it clearly triumphs the normal solar PV issues of daytime, clouds etc.

  8. Last I checked, probably a decade ago, India had a greater than 85% land use already, a lot of it dedicated to the other solar power storage system, agriculture. This may provide some of the carbon free energy, but not a majority. Thermodynamically, it doesn’t seem to have the potential to displace more energy dense generation systems. The US requires hundreds of gigawatts of production and the demand is increasing. The addition of electricity powered transport systems will require even more. You need buckets, not thimbles.

    Electric power will be used to produce ethanol from cellulose ( Hook up the plasma guns that make Syngas out of chaff, wood chips, waste paper or medical waste to a nuclear power plant and use the excess overnight capacity to create the Syngas. During the day (and night) feed it into the bioreactor and produce ethanol. Its a synthetic light/dark cycle. Use this fuel to run plug-in hybrids with nano-solar thin film PV on their skins that are recharged off the grid overnight. All public transportation switched to electricity run off nuclear power, trains, buses etc.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s