MOEF notification welcomed by solar players
In May 2011, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) notified that no environmental clearance is required for solar PV power projects. The notification came after the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) took up this issue with MOEF.
The notification stated that solar PV power projects are not covered under the ambit of EIA notification, 2006, and no environment clearance is required for such projects.
Although the environmental experts are concerned about this move, solar players have all the reasons to rejoice. In the absence of such clearance, banks or other financial institutions have always been apprehensive about lending to these developers. Hence the industry has welcomed this clarification, as it will help developers get funding as well as complete their projects in time. However, projects coming up in forest areas will have to apply for forest clearance from MOEF.
Industry’s response. Experts believe that there is an urgent need to attend to this problem since water is a scarce resource. There is a need to lay down normative water use and management standards for solar plants.
Solutions to curb Pv-linked pollution
Though solar cells are far from being a zeroemission technology, this does not mean that PV solar energy should not be promoted. Environmental protection is a global concern, so manufacturers should pay attention to reducing or curbing the pollution levels by following international standards and protocols when a system’s total carbon footprint is calculated. A few solutions include:
Using the abatement system. As already pointed out, PV manufacturing processes produce hazardous solid byproducts and waste gases. These processes produce a mixture of toxic, reactive, ignitable and corrosive gases. In order to curb environmental pollution, hazardous gases need to be treated before being released into the atmosphere or water systems.
There are a number of solar cell technologies in use, some of which employ hazardous materials as basic constituents. The unutilised, nonconsumed or unreacted gases ( for example, in silicon-based technology, which uses gas) can be passed through an abatement system that works with the ‘dry’ or ‘wet’ method. This would help in neutralising the harmful effects of toxic gases.
Explaining the process, Biju P.C., manager, sales and marketing, Emmvee Photovoltaic Power, says, “In the dry process, the flammable gases are burnt with an external supply of gases like liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or methane to form a non-reactive ash. Here, the product is an oxide of silicon, which can be reused in the brick or glass industry. In the wet method, an external aid of other chemicals is required along with a mixture of water, which forms a non-reactive slurry of