Solar energy - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

1)   Where has India launched the state-of-the-art Solar Electrification Project?

a. Agaween village
b. Libya
c. Egypt
d. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and c

India has launched a solar project with state-of-the-art technology to electrify a remote village in Egypt.

The Solar Electrification Project, an off-grid system that is ideal for remote locations, has been launched at Agaween village in the Western Desert in Matrouh Governorate, close to the Libyan border.

India provided all the solar panels and sub-systems, machinery, equipment and technical support, as well as training for technicians.

The Egyptian government provided the location for implementation of the project.

The project was inaugurated by India’s Ambassador to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya and Major General Alla Fathi Abou Zeid, Governor of Matrouh.

The project harnesses the sun and enriches the life of the villagers.

The project is a demonstration of India’s technical capabilities, especially in renewable energy, and can be replicated at other locations in Egypt.

The total output of the project is 8.8 kilowatt. The project has the ability to electrify the whole village.

The project will not only provide electricity to Agaween village but also give training to workers on how to maintain and adjust the solar energy systems to help forming groups of well—trained workers in the governorate.

The Solar Electrification Project at Agaween will provide electricity to 40 houses, a school, a mosque and a community centre.

Indo-Egyptian Ties: Know More

  • India and Egypt have agreed to collaborate in the field of information and communications technology; agriculture; biotechnology; renewable and non-conventional energy.
  • Also on the anvil are skills development and full participation of the private sector enterprises in these endeavors.
  • There is cooperation in the field of space utilizing India's expertise in launching satellites and other advances in space technology.
  • Also in the offing are joint projects on space application under existing institutional arrangements.
  • The completion of two Indian development projects in Egypt is another achievement for bilateral ties as is the establishment of a textile vocational training centre in Shubra el-Kheima, which would benefit the people of Egypt, and the solar electrification of Agaween Village.

2)   Which of the following is/are the new scheme(s) launched for the powerloom sector?

a. Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme for powerloom weavers
b. Solar energy scheme for powerlooms
c. Both the above
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both the above

A three-year Comprehensive Scheme for Powerloom Sector Development was launched by Union Textile Minister Smriti Zubin Irani at Bhiwandi on April 1, 2017 and simultaneously at 47 powerloom centres in the country.

It aims to boost common infrastructure and modernisation of the powerloom sector.

The scheme, with an outlay of INR 487 crore for three years from 2017-2018, has nine major components, including two new ones.

The two new schemes are: Pradhan Mantri Credit Scheme for powerloom weavers and solar energy scheme for powerlooms.

Existing powerloom units, new ones, and group enterprises in weaving will now get 20 % of project cost with a ceiling of INR 1 lakh as margin money subsidy and 6% interest subvention, both for working capital and term loan up to INR 10 lakh for a maximum period of five years.

Powerloom units with maximum eight looms each will be eligible for 50 % subsidy for going in for solar energy for captive use, be it on grid or off grid system.

Funds made available for upgradation of plain powerlooms, establishing yarn banks, and group workshed scheme have been increased and the minimum number of looms needed for group workshed scheme has been brought down to 24 from 48.

Some of these existing schemes such as yarn bank and insitu upgradation of plain powerlooms have huge response already and these have been modified to benefit more weavers.

A helpline was introduced for weavers to get details of the scheme.

3)   Union Ministry for textiles has announced a solar energy scheme for which units from April 1, 2017?

a. Solar Energy Scheme for Small Powerloom Units
b. Solar Energy Scheme for Medium Powerloom Units
c. Solar Energy for Large Powerloom Units
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Solar Energy Scheme for Small Powerloom Units

Union Minister of State for Textiles, Ajay Tamta on March 16, 2017 announced to the LS that the ministry has approved the Solar Energy Scheme for Small Powerloom Units.

The scheme will come into force on April 1, 2017. Scheme seeks to provide financial assistance in the form of capital subsidy to small powerloom units for installation of SPV/Solar Photo Voltaic plants.

These plants will overcome the problem of power cuts and shortages faced by decentralized powerloom units in the nation.

Under the scheme, the plants will have 2 options:

  • On-Grid Solar Power Plant
  • Off-Grid Solar Power Plant
On-Grid solar power plants in areas where the power cuts and shortages are negligible, involves high power tarrifs.

Off-Grid Solar Power plants are involved in areas where there is power shortage and on-grid power is not constantly available.

Some of the initiatives to promote the powerloom sector across the country seek to assist entrepreneurs in establishment of world class units with latest technology, modern infrastructure and suitable market linkages.

The scheme was launched in two clusters - Bhiwandi (Maharashtra) and Erode (TN).

In 2013-2014, the Modified Comprehensive Powerloom Cluster Development Scheme was launched to extend the original scheme to other parts of the nation.

Guidelines of the scheme were issued in Oct 2013 by the Union Government with the objective of empowering the power loom industry and building capacity to meet challenges of international competition in a self reliant, sustainable way.

The 5 components include market development programme, establishing common facility centres and organizing awareness programs, seminars and workshops.

An SPV is set up to oversee the scheme implementation.

4)   GoI has approved solar plan to double capacity to?

a. 20,000 MW
b. 30,000 MW
c. 40,000 MW
d. 50,000 MW
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 40,000 MW

The government on 22nd Feb 2017 approved a plan to double the capacity of solar parks and ultra-mega solar power projects (UMSPP) to 40,000 MW from 20,000 mw.

A roadmap would be finalised shortly to set up at least 50 solar parks, each with a capacity of 500 MW except in hilly areas where adequate land is not available.

These smaller parks in Himalayan and other hilly states, where contiguous land may be difficult to acquire in view of the difficult terrain, will also be considered under the scheme.

These solar parks will be set up by 2019-20 with a financial assistance of Rs 8,100 crore from the Centre.

Following completion, the total capacity of all solar parks will generate 64 billion units of electricity per year, saving 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year over their life cycle.

State governments will first nominate solar power park developer (SPPD) and also identify land for the project.

They will then send the proposal to the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) for approval along with the name of the SPPD.

The SPPD will then be sanctioned a grant of up to Rs 25 lakh for preparing detailed project report. Thereafter, Central financial assistance of up to INR 20 lakh per MW, or 30% of the project cost, including grid-connectivity cost, whichever is lower, will be released as per the milestones prescribed in the scheme.

The renewable energy ministry is implementing a scheme for development of at least 25 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 MW, which was launched in December 2014.

As on date, 34 solar parks with an aggregate capacity of 20,000 mw have been approved and are at various stages of development.

5)   For the first time, solar panels have been installed on which Indian warship?

a. INS Viraat
b. INS Kaveri
c. INS Vikrant
d. INS Sarvekshak
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: INS Sarvekshak

For the first time in the country, solar panels have been installed on an Indian warship.

The survey class vessel INS Sarvekshak, attached with the southern naval command, has been fitted with 18 sheets of solar panels atop its hangar.

It took about six months to put the entire system in place. We are now using solar energy for lights and a couple of air conditioners.

Captain Rajesh Bargoti is the commanding officer of the ship.

The 300-watt panels generate about 5.4kW power.

Biggest challenge was that marine environments were not suitable for normal solar panels, as saline and humid surroundings would damage it.

Also, the wind speed can affect the panels, which may get uprooted while at sea.

Therefore scientists had to look at flexible panels that had anti-rust properties, were marine compatible, could withstand high wind speeds, perform on flat installations and had very low weight.

There are 10 batteries which are used for storage.

Only solar power for the purpose of lighting during sail.

When anchored the ship uses power supplied by the state electricity board and not diesel.

Ship personnel were noting down meter reading of solar power consumption so as to carry out a power audit and look at using solar power for more devices.

PM Narendra Modi had appreciated the innovation when the project was put on display at the exhibition organised by the Navy headquarters

6)   Which country is the world's largest producer of solar energy?

a. China
b. India
c. US
d. Germany
Answer  Explanation 


China has surpassed Germany to become the world’s largest producer of solar energy after nearly doubling its installed photovoltaic capacity in 2016.

With the increased capacity, China generated 66.2 billion kilowatt-hours of energy last year.

This however accounted for only 1% of its electrical output.

The country further plans to double its current solar energy capacity by 2020.

National Energy Administration (NEA) noted that the nation officially claimed the title after doubling its installed photovoltaic (PV) capacity last year.

By the end of 2016, China’s capacity hit 77.42 gigawatts, and while this is great in terms of raw numbers, it’s a lot less impressive relative to the country’s massive population.

China is to devote more and more of its attention towards clean energy.

The NEA says that China will seek to add more than 110 gigawatts within the next three years, which could help the nation up the proportion of its renewable energy use to 20 percent by 2030.

Today, it stands at 11 percent.

China’s geography certainly lends itself to large solar energy farms.

Last year, Shandong, Xinjiang, and Henan provinces enjoyed the greatest increase in their solar capacity.

Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai, and Inner Mongolia ended up with the most overall capacity at the end of 2016.

Weaning itself off of fossil fuels will require quite a hefty investment.

According to a Reuters report, the nation will be pouring some 2.5 trillion yuan ($364 billion) into renewable power generation by the end of the decade.

This dedication to environmentally friendly energy sources could put pressure on other nations around the world to do the same.

Already, Ireland has passed a bill that would make it the first country to divest from fossil fuels. And some countries are finding increasingly creative ways of moving away from fossil fuels.

Iceland is drilling the world’s largest well for geothermal energy.

7)   Where is the world's biggest solar park?

a. Qinghai
b. Shanghai
c. Mumbai
d. Dubai
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Qinghai

China has built Longyangxia Dam Solar Park. This is the world’s biggest solar park in the western province of Qinghai.

China has made an effort to become the super powerful occupier of green energy.

The park covers an area over 27 square km and has capacity to produce 850 MW of power, enough to supply up to 200,000 households.

The construction of the solar park was started in 2013 at total costs around $875 million (around INR. 6,000 crore).

Qinghai: Know More

  • Area: 720,000 km²
  • Capital: Xining
  • Governor: Wang Jianjun
  • Secretary: Wang Guosheng

8)   Which country is building the world's tallest solar tower to harness solar energy?

a. Israel
b. India
c. Sri Lanka
d. Germany
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Israel

Israel is constructing the world's tallest solar tower to harness solar energy. This is part of its Ashalim project, located in the Negev desert.

The centre of the Ashalim solar tower, it will be 250 metres tall and will be encircled by 50 thousand mirrors called heliostats.

Solar towers use different method conventional photovoltaic solar panels. These convert sunlight directly into electricity. The solar towers use solar thermal method in which 1000s of mirrors focus the sun's rays into the tower, heating the boiler that creates steam to spin the turbine and generate electricity.

Ashalim project is made up of three fields each with a different solar technology. Together, these solar fields will be Israel’s largest renewable energy project after completion by 2018.

They will generate some 310 MW of power that is, about 1.6% of the Israel’s energy needs enough for about 130,000 households, or roughly 5% of Israel’s population.

9)   Which country on 22nd Dec inaugurated the world’s first solar highway?

a. France
b. Germany
c. Australia
d. Italy
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: France

France on 22nd Dec 2016 inaugurated the world’s first solar highway.

This road is paved with solar panels providing enough energy to power street lights of Normandy’s Tourouvre.

This is one kilometre or half mile Wattway covering 2,800 square meters or 30,000 square feet of resin coated solar panels hooked up to the local power grid.

The use of solar energy takes advantage of large swathes of road infrastructure in use to produce electricity without taking up a new real estate.

Minister also announced a 4 year plan for the national deployment of solar highways with initial projects in western Brittany and southern Marseille.

An average of 2,000 carouse this road each day, resting the resistance of the panels constructed by French civil engineering major Colas, a subsidiary of Bouygues.

This idea is being explored in the United States, the Netherlands and Germany.

The roadways are occupied by cars only around 20 percent of the time, providing vast expanses of surface to soak up sun’s rays.

In theory, France could become energy independent by paving only a quarter of its million kilometres of roads with solar panels.

Wattway project received a state subsidy of 5 million euros.

A drawback of the system is that solar panels are the most effective when angled than when they are laid flat.

Each Kilowatt peak, the unit of measure for solar energy, generated by Wattway currently costs 17 euros compared with 1.30 euros for major rooftop installation.

By 2020, the cost competitiveness of this project will be improved.

Cost of producing solar energy decreased by 60 percent between 2009 and 2015, according to French renewable energy association SER.

France: Know More

  • Location: Western Europe
  • Capital: Paris
  • President: Francois Hollande
  • Prime Minister: Bernard Cazeneuve
  • Currencies: Euro, CFP franc.

10)   The first solar powered flight called Solar Impulse has completed the round the world flight. What is the name of its pilot?

a. Andre Borschberg
b. Bertrand Piccard
c. Both of the above
d. Neither of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both of the above

The first round the world solar powered trip was completed when Solar Impulse piloted by Bertrand Picard and Andre Borschberg landed in Abu Dhabi.

  • The voyage began from Abu Dhabi in March last year.
  • 17 stage journey covered 42,000 km taking in 4 continents, 3 seas and 2 oceans.

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