Solar Thermal Power Sector needs support

Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) organized a conference on 4th February 2016 to understand the discouragement towards the solar thermal power sector for power generation and its applications. The title of the conference was “The forgotten solar: Solar power and its development” and CSE also presented the report ‘State of concentrated solar power in India’ and discussed it thoroughly.

The mostly used solar thermal application in residential sector is solar water heaters which can be installed anywhere at the rooftop. For industrial work, it is a mode for huge fuel savings. It is estimated that over 15 million tonnes of fuel oil is consumed per annum in the industrial sector to process the heat applications below 250°C and over 35 million tonnes of fuel oil for above 250°C.

But the solar thermal power sector has stuck in its place and no further development is happening anymore due to lack of awareness and inefficient technological expertise. It was mentioned in the conference that solar thermal can replace the fuel consumptions. The Deputy Director General of CSE, Chandra Bhushan stressed on the need for a coherent plan of development in this sector.

In a press release, it was explained “In the interim, where solar thermal power generation is not financially feasible, solar thermal applications for industries should be promoted by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).” He further emphasized that the demand may help the local manufacturing and can provide employment opportunities too.

It was discussed that indigenous manufacturing and scaled economies can also do the cost cutting for power generation. There are many applications in the solar thermal where solar energy is being used for the industrial, residential and commercial purposes. But this sector is not getting needed support in the country.

The capacity of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) installed in India is just 200 mega watt (MW); solar photovoltaics (PV) but have an installed capacity of almost 5000 MW. The conference was well attended by the prominent persons in the solar thermal power sector, representatives from industry and agencies like the Solar Thermal Federation of India, Solar Energy Corporation of India and MNRE.

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