The corporate R&D arm of power equipment maker BHEL is set to launch some products aimed at making solar power production cheaper.

First in the pipeline is a new solar thermal sun tracker — a system for tracking the sun from morning to evening to produced increased power output from the solar panels mounted on it.

“We are preparing to commercially launch this product in the next six to eight months. Our prototype has shown that the tracking system can generate 25-35 per cent additional energy in comparison to the conventional modules mounted on the fixed tilt structures,’’ S. Sekar, GM of BHEL’s corporate R&D arm.

Liquid balancing system

The operation of the sun tracker is based on a simple liquid balancing system. Hence, there are no motors, gears and control system for the operation.

The tracking is fully automatic and driven by the movement of liquid from one side of the panel array to the other side due to heat generated by solar energy.

“We are currently fixing this system in one of our existing solar units to test its operational and cost efficiencies,’’ he said.

Thin film solar cells

The firm’s R&D arm, headquartered in Hyderabad, is also working on a technology to develop thin film solar cells, which could result in lesser requirement of material to fabricate the photovoltaic devices.

The technology involves preparation of a nano-material of copper indium gallium di-selinide from non-toxic and non-harzardous material. This is then applied for making the thin film solar cells, which have higher absorption coefficient than the regular solar cells.

amitmitra@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on April 16, 2013)
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