Smart cities of the future will have greater power demands and warrant an innovative approach to electrical infrastructure. Smart city projects around the world are seeking urban ‘smart energy’ solutions - characterised by low carbon emissions and energy resilience - to help them support growing populations and their digital footprints. Thanks to its accessibility, solar power is increasingly being touted as the future of energy for smart cities. Take, for example, the Fujinawa Smart Town in Japan, where 1,000 homes have been connected by solar power. It has notably reduced its carbon emissions by 70%. It’s solar-powered microgrids, moreover, have the capacity to run off-grid for up to three days in the event of power outage due to natural calamities etc.
India, especially, stands to benefit tremendously from solar energy, thanks to a conducive climate and geographical position due to which some parts of the country enjoy sunny days for most part of the year. Indeed, solar energy is being given a concerted policy push in India’s urban development. Master plans have already been drawn up for 50 solar cities to have solar power generation capabilities, especially through rooftop photovoltaic systems which directly produce electricity from sunlight. In addition, they will also be equipped with solar power-enabled water heaters, street lightings, pumps for water lifting, concentrators for steam-based cooking and traffic signals. The solar cities are expected to reduce their conventional energy demand by 10% over five years.
Diu Smart City is a remarkable solar energy success story from India. Equipped with 9-MW solar park spread over 50 hectares, and 79 government buildings with installed solar panels, it has become the first city in India to run on 100% renewable energy during daytime. The city now saves 13,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year and has managed to reduce power tariffs by up to 15%. India’s cumulative solar capacity, too, is steadily increasing and touched 20 GW this year.
This proliferation of solar energy projects is being made possible by the latest advances in solar power technology. Take, for example, Germany-based Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems which develops solar photovoltaics and solar thermal cells (used for solar energy storage). Among other innovations, the institute has developed a special coating that can be used to give solar panels a tinted appearance in various colours, making them an aesthetic addition to smart buildings. Fraunhofer ISE was recently featured on Manthan, the popular Hindi-language science and technology show on Doordarshan. Watch the segment below.
Manthan - a collaboration between Doordarshan and DW, Germany’s public broadcaster - aims to inform Hindi-speaking audiences of the latest developments in science and technology, with a special focus on innovations from Germany and Europe. Manthan airs every Saturday at 11:00am on Doordarshan. You can watch all previous episodes of Manthan on DW Hindi’s YouTube channel, here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of DW and not by the Scroll editorial team.