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Monkeys Are Wreaking Havoc On Solar Panels In India

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To solve its energy crisis in a coal-dependent country and to reach its goal toward becoming one of the world's largest solar markets, India is launching a new concentrated solar power project in a few weeks.

Run by the Indian Institute of Science (IISC) as part of the Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the United States (Seriius), the project consists of rows of aluminum troughs that will generate solar-powered electricity.

Sunlight that reflects from the troughs will bounce to water pipes located above. The water in the pipes will be heated to 392 degrees Fahrenheit and go through a heat exchanger that is attached to a small machine used for producing power from fast-flowing water, which will then create 100 kilowatts of electricity.

The researchers will then be able to test various reflective heat-transferable liquids, such as molten salt, to produce electricity. They will gather and analyze data sent to a dashboard at IISC from small wireless sensors with the goal of finding the best components to produce solar power in India as many of the solar panels the country received are not suited for the extreme conditions of its climate.

Along with testing concentrated solar power, solar photovoltaic installations will also be added, and researchers will focus on creating polymers to protect the panels from extreme conditions like high temperatures and dust.

While the project may lead to the solution for the deterioration of solar panels, the researchers have another problem on their hands monkeys.

The installation set in Challakere, north of Bangalore, is often invaded by monkeys that are wreaking havoc on the solar panels. The monkeys are said to chew on the electrical cables and even lick the panels that collect dew.

"We've tried giving them food to lure them away, but they just sit there," professor of materials engineering at IISC Praveen Ramamurthy said. "I don't know what to do."

To address the monkey problem, the researchers have even tried an ultrasonic monkey repellent to keep the animals away from the project, but they just keep coming back.

While the panels provide a hangout spot for the primates, the project will help India progress toward providing clean energy to the more than 300 million people who live without it.

Via: Technology Review

Photo: Rushen | Flickr

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