Rooftop energy  (The Hindu)

The power of numbers (The Hindu)

Rooftop energy

(The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of rooftop solar panel to boosting solar power.

(GS paper III)

Overview

  • Recent commissioned Bengaluru’s aerial mission to produce a three dimensional map of rooftop solar power potential using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) data can give this key source of power a big boost.

  • Various mapping exercises have been carried out in several countries over the past few years to assess how much of a city’s power needs can be met through rooftop solar installations.

Bengaluru Exercise

  • In Laser mapping technology, aerial light pulses are directed at the ground from an aircraft, it has recently helped archaeologists discover an ancient Mayan city under the jungles in Guatemala. In Bengaluru, the same technology, light detection and ranging (LiDAR) is being used, but for a different reason. A helicopter armed with LiDAR system will fly across the city, mapping its potential to generate rooftop solar energy.

  • The initiative, which is based on a 2016 agreement of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) with the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) and Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd. (KREDL), finally took flight at Jakkur aerodrome. Bescom has commissioned the mapping in a bid to meet its target of generation of 1,000 MW of rooftop solar energy by 2022 from Bengaluru alone.

  • A survey helps in determining usable rooftops, separating them from green spaces, and analyses the quality of the solar resource. With steady urbanisation, solar maps of this kind will help electricity utilities come up with good business cases and investment vehicles and give residents an opportunity to become partners in the effort.

  • An initiative to rapidly scale up rooftop solar installations is needed if the target of creating 40 GW of capacity connected to the grid by 2022 is to be realised. Rooftop solar power growth has demonstrated an overall positive trend, including in the fourth quarter of 2017 when tenders for 220 MW represented a doubling of the achievement in the previous quarter.

  • But this will need to be scaled up massively to achieve the national target. Going forward, domestic policy has to evaluate the impact of factors such as imposition of safeguard duty and anti-dumping duty on imports, and levy of the goods and services tax on photovoltaic modules. The industry is apprehensive that the shine could diminish for the sector during the current year, unless policy is attuned to the overall objective of augmenting capacity.

Challenges

  • Solar projects that connect to the grid often face the challenge of land acquisition and transmission connectivity, which has led to a delay in planned capacity coming on stream during 2017: nearly 3,600 MW did not get commissioned during the last quarter, out of a scheduled 5,100 MW.
  • This underscores is the importance of exploiting rooftop solar, which represents only about 11% of the country’s 19,516 MW total installed capacity at the start of 2018. The Centre should come up with incentives, given the enormous investment potential waiting to be tapped and the real estate that can be rented.

  • The southern States and Rajasthan together host the bulk of national solar infrastructure on a large scale. With some forward-looking policymaking, they can continue to lead by adding rooftop capacity.

Way ahead

  • India, which is a founder-member of the International Solar Alliance launched in Paris during the climate change conference more than two years ago, must strive to be a global leader. Initiatives such as the Bengaluru mapping project can contribute to assessments of both real potential and risk. This is crucial for projects on a large scale involving significant exposure for financial institutions, including banks.

Question- With ongoing improvements to solar cell efficiency and battery technology, rooftops will only get more attractive in the future. Analyse.

The power of numbers

(The Hindu)

Synoptic line: It throws light on the issue of collection of data for breaking the silence surrounding the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and violence.

(GS paper II)

Overview

  • For 2017, Time magazine dedicated its person of the year cover to women who broke the silence surrounding the pervasiveness of sexual harassment and violence, especially in the workplace. It took a string of allegations by women with public images they could leverage and were willing to put at stake, to give heightened visibility to the widespread nature of violence against women by men in prominent positions.

Me Too Campaign

  • The “Me Too” movement spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media to help demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.

  • The emergence of the #MeToo movement has revealed anything, it is the power of numbers. The subsequent solidarity around experiences of sexual violence, globally, has taken root in India too. However, given the genesis of the movement, it is disconcerting that building the collective solidarity required publicly celebrated figures to come forward with their stories. Surely, experiences of ordinary women deserve the same recognition.

  • We live in a world awash in statistics, yet when it comes to our knowledge about how many women experience sexual harassment and violence, we are at a loss. If we don’t know the contours of violence, how can we address it?

NFHS about sexual violence

  • There is need for data on sexual harassment, but data collection in this area is extremely challenging. It is difficult to define sexual harassment; it is even more difficult to collect information about painful and stigmatising experiences. Results from India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS) – IV provide testament to this challenge. NFHS asked questions about women’s experiences of sexual violence. About 5.5% of the women surveyed say they have experienced sexual violence; over 80% of these instances of violence are perpetrated by husbands.

  • These results direct our attention to the home as the primary site for violence, away from public spaces and workplaces. This, no doubt, is misleading and largely reflects problems in survey design and execution.  

  • NFHS asks about sexual violence; but there was problem in the phraseology of NFHS-IV- “Has anyone ever forced you in any way to have sexual intercourse or perform any other sexual acts when you did not want to?” It then goes on to ask the identity of the perpetrator. Unsurprisingly, this bald question, most likely asked in semi-public settings, in the absence of lead-up and sensitivity, elicits largely negative responses.

  • It, moreover, asks about non-consensual sexual acts; it does not account for sexual coercion tactics of the kind instigated by Harvey Weinstein. Such acts are forbidden under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition And Redressal) Act, 2013 which defines harassment as unwelcome physical advances, remarks and demands for sexual favours. The kinds of experiences examined by NFHS form only a part of this definition.

  • There is also an important difference between reporting coercive overtures and ‘successful’ coercion since the latter brands and often stigmatises survivors of sexual misconduct. Some suggest, for instance, that it might have been easier for Angelina Jolie to come forward about Weinstein’s attempted coercion because she did not have to confess to actual violation. But distinctions of this kind are sensitive to definitions, question wording and settings in which interviews take place.

  • The personal experiences of this nature are usually underreported, over 17% women claiming they experience unwanted groping often or very often is striking. Of the 15.67% of women who reported experiencing groping/touching only ‘rarely,’ a fair number might have been under-reporting. Even more disturbing is the acceptance of sexual harassment.

  • When both men and women were asked whether “women should tolerate eve-teasing as a normal part of life” only about 50% disagreed with this statement; others either agreed to some extent or had no opinion. Notably, of those who disagreed, 17.5% disagreed only ‘somewhat.’

  • According to IDFC Institutes’ survey of over 20,000 households in four cities, which asked about the households when they start worrying about the safety of men and women within their families who may be outside the home and unaccompanied. In Delhi, the city where perhaps fear is most prevalent, almost no household worries that a male member is outside at 7 p.m., but about 20% of the households start worrying about a female member. By 9 p.m., the proportion of households worrying increases to 40% for men and a whopping 90% for women.

Way forward

  • There is minimal data on workplace harassment in India, here silence speaks louder than statistics. The challenges associated with collecting data on sexual harassment are multiple. We need to find privacy and safety and guard against further stigmatising survivors of sexual harassment and violence.

  • Data must be collected and interpreted with sensitivity in order to do justice to the struggles women encounter in the face of gendered and sexual violence. However, collecting and disseminating data about sexual violence is the first step towards breaking the culture of silence and finding ways of combating violence against women.

Question Examine the statement- “Collecting data about sexual violence is a crucial step towards breaking the culture of silence”.