In a bid to promote the usage of solar energy, CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI) has developed the world’s largest ‘solar tree’ to convert solar energy to electricity. The solar tree has been installed at ‘Centre of Excellence for Farm Machinery’, Ludhiana, Punjab and is officially certified by Guinness World Records (GWR) as the Largest Solar Tree in the world. The total solar PV panel surface area is 309.83 sq.m in this installation, surpassing the previous record of 67 sq.m. The installed capacity of the Solar Tree is 53.6 kWp (kilowatts peak) with a capacity to generate 160-200 units per day of clean and green power.
Underlining the newly launched Solar Tree, Prof. Harish Hirani, Director, CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute said, “It gives us immense pleasure to announce a slew of innovative applications that will follow the Solar Tree. Being part of the Guinness World Records (GWR) as the Largest Solar Tree is definitely a feather in the cap and a booster for all the scientists who has worked in the project.”
He further added that the solar tree had wide applications such as distributed power generation to cater the needs of different integrated farming activities of charging e- tractors, e-power tillers and EV charging station, running agriculture pumps for irrigation needs, a solar-based cooking system for food preparation needs at the farm site, powering the cold storage needs of the farm produce thereby increasing the shelf life.
While addressing the media persons during the launch, Prof. Hirani announced the innovative technologies –
Biomass insulation cold storage – This technology works out to be cost-effective yet easy to manufacture. The peculiarity of this technology is the cold storage is manufactured using dried biomass which has very good thermal insulation properties. The cold storage developed at CSIR-CMERI, can attain a minimum temperature of 2°C with 100 per cent humidity. This can help the marginal farmers to increase the transit shelf life of the agricultural produces like fruits and vegetables. This technology can help maintain the balance of commodity prices between demand and supply of the agricultural produces which is not only beneficial to farmers but also to the consumers.
Islanded Solar Biodiesel Hybrid Minigrid of 50kW – This technology helps in fulfilling the energy needs of a typical housing colony or a small village. Peak load and average load profiles are prepared for different seasons and an optimal mix of Solar Photovoltaics and Biodiesel based power generator are installed which are currently supplying power. The hybrid inverter deployed to have the capability to accommodate different energy sources and control the output with appropriate switching strategies to ensure an uninterrupted power supply.
The energy requirements for the integrated farm, like irrigation pumps, tractors, power tillers, motors, cold storage, processing facilities, fish farming, can be met from the energy produced by the solar tree making it a self-sustainable energy surplus system.
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