India: Concentrating Solar Thermal Test Centre and Website
Two milestones were reached in the second quarter of 2014 within the initiative Market Development and Promotion of Solar Concentrator Based Process Heat Applications. On 16 April, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) invited stakeholders to the stone-laying ceremony of a testing centre for concentrating solar thermal technology at the University of Pune (see photo). And on 19 May, Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary for Solar at the MNRE, launched http://www.cshindia.in, a website explaining the basics of concentrating solar thermal technologies and featuring videos of prominent installations for every possible application, i.e., for cooking, process heat and cooling.
Photo: Malaviya Solar Energy Consultancy
The test centre is said to be a historic achievement for the country, because it is the first of its kind in Asia. The construction of the entire facility, whose estimated costs of INR 50 million (EUR 625,000) will be covered by the Market Development and Promotion of Solar Concentrator Based Process Heat Applications initiative, will take about 12 months. Once finalised, the test centre will be headed by Dr Subhash Ghaisas, Director of the School of Energy Studies at the University of Pune.
61 case studies of solar concentrating installations
One key section of the new website http://www.cshindia.in shows case studies of installed solar concentrating projects. The portal already includes 43 cooking installations, 15 process heat projects and 3 solar cooling systems. Each installation is described in a two-page PDF, which gives information on the system’s location, application process, year of installation, beneficiary details, specifications, utilisation, present operation status, type and quantity of saved fuel, maintenance issues, project costs, level of subsidy and payback period. Additionally, the web portal offers details on support schemes, guidelines and loan programmes, as well as a monthly newsletter and a list of MNRE-approved manufacturers, including their contact address. The Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI) will be in charge of maintaining and updating the web portal.
The initiative Market Development and Promotion of Solar Concentrator Based Process Heat Applications, which was launched in May 2012, is coordinated by the MNRE and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project will run until March 2017 (see the attached PDF).