Optimal Site Selection for Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant in North Eastern State of India using Hybrid MCDM Tools

Optimal Site Selection for Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant in North Eastern State of India using Hybrid MCDM Tools

Nitish Deogam (Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Sikkim Manipal University, Gangtok, India) and Shabbiruddin (Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology, Sikkim Manipal University, Gangtok, India)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/IJEOE.2019040104


As society develops, the demand for energy also increases. Most of world's energy requirements are fulfilled using fossil fuels or other types of non-renewable resources, which are polluting the environment, but also depleting. For this reason, the Government of India and the Government of Sikkim (North Eastern State of India) are working on policies to promote investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) plants and has plans to use it to meet the growing energy demand without causing damage to the environment. To make the best use of solar PV cells on commercial scale, it is necessary to know how to optimize the output of the PV power plant, and the most important factor is the selection of the land or the area on which the PV power plant is to be set up. There are multiple factors one must take into consideration for better output. In this study, focus has been put on geographical and meteorological factors that affect the output of the PV cells. Multi criteria decision making (MCDM) techniques have been used for selection of best site for PV power plant.
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1. Introduction

Electric Energy is one of the basic needs of today’s society, the development of society depends on the ability to generate this energy, and hence various ways of harnessing electricity are employed (Access to Energy Services in a Human Rights Framework, Reference). Most of the methods employed to produce electricity make use of fossil fuels (World Energy Resource, Reference). Though quite efficient fossil fuels are losing their charm for the following reasons: they are harmful to the environment, it is a non-renewable resource which implies that it is slowly depleting, it is getting expensive day by day. (Pieprzyk, Kortlüke & Hilje, 2009)

Hence it seems wise to find alternative options through which electricity can be produced. Using renewable resources to harness electricity is gaining popularity world-wide (Wüstenhagen, Wolsink & Bürer, 2007). However, most countries are doubtful of the potential of these renewable resources (Pegels, 2010), therefore they haven’t yet worked on policies that may encourage the use of renewable resources. One must realize that renewable energy can play an important role in sustainable development (Lund, 2007).

India is one of the few countries that have taken initiative in employing renewable resources (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, 2015). India is a developing nation and its demand for energy is increasing day by day as its population is growing, and new industries are being set up (Ghosh, 2002). Hence by focusing more on renewable resources India can help in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which can potentially reduce air pollution and global warming.

Solar energy can play a crucial role in this direction as India receives plentiful of solar radiation throughout the year because of its geographic location. Photovoltaic plants consist of photovoltaic cell which works on photovoltaic effect. In photovoltaic effect, two dissimilar materials (like silicon and germanium) are put in close contact. When exposed to radiation, electrons from one material absorb the photons, get excited and jump to the other material. This movement of electrons induces positive charge in one material and negative in the other resulting in generation of electro motive force. In a solar power plant, an array of solar cells is created (in series and parallel with each other) to produce desired current and voltage level (Basic Photovoltaic Principles and Methods, Reference). Solar energy is one of the most preferred forms of renewable energy for harnessing electricity. It’s one of the easiest to set up and requires minimum maintenance, hence maintenance cost is negligible.

In the current study the area of interest is the North eastern state of India, Sikkim. Figure 1 Shows map of India highlighting Sikkim. Sikkim is located close to the siliguri corridor near Bangladesh.

Figure 1.

Map of India highlighting Sikkim (Extracted using https://upload.wikimedia.org)

Sikkim is the second smallest among the Indian states. Nestling in the Himalayan mountains, state of Sikkim is characterised by mountainous terrain Figure 2 Shows map of Sikkim.

Figure 2.

Map of Sikkim (Extracted using https://maps.newkerala.com/)

Almost the entire state is hilly, with an elevation ranging from 280 metres (920 ft) to 8,585 metres (28,000 ft). Most of the inhabited regions of Sikkim experience a temperate climate, with temperatures seldom exceeding 28 °C (82 °F) in summer. The average annual temperature for most of Sikkim is around 18 °C (64 °F) (Sikkim Weather, Reference).

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