With Solar Payback, We Aim To Accelerate Solar Heat For Industrial Process, Reduce Greenhouse Gases And Aim For Commercialization

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In Conversation With Jaideep N. Malaviya (Secretary General), Solar Thermal, Federation of India (STFI)

1) STFI has partnered in an International Project “SOLAR PAYBACK”. What is the major highlight of this partnership?

JNM: The Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI) and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) have teamed up for the international ‘Solar Payback’ project. Supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry and funded by the International Climate Initiative, the three-year project will be implemented in India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil. It is coordinated by the German Solar Association BSW-Solar and eleven partner organisations: three German companies, plus each target country’s national solar industry association and German Chamber of Commerce. The aim is to raise attention for the huge market potential of solar process heat, which is still playing the role of a relatively new niche technology in the above-mentioned countries.

2) How is Solar Thermal going to create a difference in India’s Solar Industry?

JNM: Almost 15 million tones fuel oil is consumed in annually for heat up to 250 OC alone in industries & close to 5,000 trillion kWh of electricity for heating. Industrial sector consumes 38% of total energy consumed in India. Energy efficiency measures and renewable energy sources offer hope for conserving up to 25% of the industrial energy requirement. It will give respite to the demand for fuel by reducing the burden of foreign exchange.

3) STFI has initiated Solar Heat for Industrial Process. Can you give some insights on the development in this Technology?
The use of solar heat for industrial process (SHIP) is still a niche market in India. “With Solar Payback, we aim to accelerate SHIP, reduce greenhouse gases and aim for commercialisation. Raising awareness amongst industries and certified energy auditors is the key to explore the huge potential of over 5,000 kWth solar process requiring heat up to 150 deg. C. The project also aims to refine the competitive edge of local industries

3 A) Which segments of industries are identified as potential for SHIP and the potential regions in India?
Dairy, Food processing & Brewery, Pharmaceutical Automobile components and Textile are the potential industries. India is the world’s largest dairy producer and offers best case study to execute SHIP and set global standards. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have reasonably good Direct Normal Incidence and are industrially developed.

4) What do you feel about Indian market’s acceptance for SHIP?
JNM: Under the current fluctuating fuel oil prices and its uncertainty in future the industries are now seriously considering implementing alternative technology that is sustainable, predictable but affordable. The atmosphere is apt for solar thermal manufacturers to deliver stable and better maintained systems.

5) How will this impact the end user? What are the major barriers for the technology adoption by the Industries?
JNM: Lack of awareness in industries duel to low confidence, lack of knowledge with certified energy auditors / managers, no quality control orders, no performance-based incentives, no policy for heat obligation in industries and unwillingness by Banks for capital funds are some of the barriers identified.

5A) What are some of the salient features of solar heating in India?
JNM:  We are the only country to have demonstrated successfully multiplicity of industrial SHIP. Notably we are the only country in the world with highest steam cooking systems. In 2017 India was the lead country installed solar thermal capacity for industrial heating. We are proudly placed amongst top 5 countries of  installed capacity.

6) What are the current policies initiated by Indian Government for Solar Thermal.
JNM: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is providing capital subsidy of 30% on the solar component. Besides under the GEF-UNIDO programme underway
IREDA also extends interest subvention of 5%. Besides eligible industries can also avail of depreciation benefits. The role of analogous institutions like Bureau of Energy Efficiency and Petroleum Conservation Research Association is crucial in assisting elevation of SHIP in their programmes.

7) What according to you can improve the existing policy which will help promote Solar Heat Technology?
JNM: Making mandatory/obligatory for identified to meet a certain percentage of heating by solar thermal, capacity building workshops for industries and energy managers/auditors, devising performance-based incentive instead of area-based incentive, identifying 100 end applications where SHIP offers viability,  encouraging ESCO thus decreasing the risk for investors and exposure of Indian manufacturers to the best developed technologies globally. Ministry of Environment and Forests can put a threshold limit on emissions for industries using fossil fuel and encourage use of clean energy technologies like solar thermal.

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