At our GJW-IN observatory, which is in a rural part of southern India, the mains electricity is intermittent and spiky. At best this can mean that the school and researchers miss out on valuable observing time; at worst, observatory equipment is damaged. To overcome this problem, the project needed to find an alternative method of sourcing electricity: a solution that would meet the energy requirements of the observatory, whilst being both sustainable and reliable for years to come. Energy from our nearest star is the answer!
On 24th January 2017 a solar farm was connected to the observatory for the first time. The observatory is now powered entirely independently of the local grid from a renewable resource. Energy in the form of sunlight is captured by the solar panels, converted into electricity, and then used to charge up big banks of batteries. The battery banks store the energy, so it is available for us at night to power the observatory equipment.
Find out about the science behind the solar farm. We take a look at the principles of energy, electricity and engineering and see their far reaching applications.
Take a look at how much sunlight is landing on our solar panels, and how much electricity we are storing. We have live data feeds!