The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched a Solar Calculator application that can accurately calculate the benefits of installing solar panels in different parts of the country. The app was created by the Space Application Center facility (SAC) of ISRO in Ahmedabad at the behest of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
— ISRO (@isro) April 24, 2017
ISRO’s Solar Calculator app is available for download on the following website: VEDAS. It is yet to be made available on the Play Store.
How does ISRO’s Solar Calculator operate?
When you open the app (at VEDAS ), you will find several options and menus that are self-explanatory. Once you select a particular location on a map, and ask for information from the Solar Calculator tab, you will get various information about the area you have selected. This information includes minimum and maximum temperatures, day length, and sun path.
- The data on the app is present in three forms: maps, tables and graphs.
- In the application, one can view the monthly or yearly solar potential and minimum or maximum temperature at any place in India.
- The app also showcases the location on the satellite image and gives azimuth (the direction of a celestial object from the observer) or elevation angles, and also day length over various time periods in a year.
- You can also navigate through geographic coordinates. The app also gets the location using a GPS.
- The calculation of the potential of solar energy is done after the app sources its data from satellites like Kalpana-1, INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR.
Salient features of the app
Some of its salient features of ISRO’s Solar Calculator are as follows:
- The app provides solar energy potential (kWh/m2 ) at any given location.
- The required location can be keyed in or can be obtained through GPS.
- It gives monthly and yearly Solar Potential processed using Indian Geostationary Satellite data.
- It also offers monthly minimum and maximum temperature to calculate realistic solar potential.
- The location is displayed on image with satellite data in the background.
- It also gives azimuth and elevations angles and day length over different time periods in a year.
- Obstruction of sunlight due to terrain is also calculated using DEM.
- It also suggests optimum tilt angle for Solar PV installation.
- Complete report can be saved as a PDF file.
The need for the app
The app will be a boon for people looking for directions to install solar panels on their property. Besides this, it will also tap into India’s booming solar industry.
According to ISRO, energy demand is increasing with every day and the World Energy Council has indicated increased electricity production from solar energy due to its multi-beneficiary characteristics.
The usage of geostationary satellite data (Kalpana and INSAT- 3D) makes it possible to calculate the solar insolation varying in spatial and temporal domain. However, this data can be difficult for common people to interpret. Therefore, a simple android mobile app to make solar energy more universal was envisaged.
The Logical Indian take
The Logical Indian community appreciates ISRO’s actions to encourage Indians to adopt solar energy.
Solar energy is clean, pollution-free, and abundant in nature. The use of solar water heaters, solar photovoltaics, solar power plants are some of the ways to adopt solar energy in our lives. Thus, solar energy is one of the prominent renewable energy on the rooftop of the buildings (mainly in tropical and subtropical regions). Solar insolation is dynamic in nature and changes with time and place.
The Indian government has put a target of generating 175 GW in 2022 through renewable energy. With approximately 300 clear sunny days a year, India has very high solar incidence, which is more than the possible energy output of all fossil fuel energy reserves in India.
With India adamant to tap solar power and become a renewable energy powerhouse in the near future, such applications will go a long way in helping more Indians join the cause.
NOTE: ISRO’s Solar Calculator app is available for download on the following website: VEDAS. It is yet to be made available on the Play Store.