More than 200 participants attended the side-event dedicated to the solar heating and cooling sector during the Delhi International Renewable Energy Conference (DIREC) 2010 in New Delhi, India, at the end of October. International thought leaders highlighted the global development of low-temperature solar applications and the possibilities for widespread distribution of this technology.
Photo: Jaideep Malaviya
The conference ‘Solar Water Heating Systems (SWHS): Global Perspectives’ was organised by the Austrian agency Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) in cooperation with the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), India, and the United Nations Development Programme.
Deepak Gupta, Secretary at MNRE, talked about a subsidy programme as being the first step in implementing the ambitious targets of the National Solar Mission and attracting the masses: “We have to change the mindset of common citizens so that they adopt solar water heaters as a major energy-saving device”. Preeti Soni, Preeti Soni, UNDP adviser, summarised the activities which are part of the Global Solar Water Heating Initiative, including capacity building, guidelines for use in high-rise buildings and awareness among banks. “The UNDP also aims at involving electric utilities in the promotion and quality ratings to ensure the systems run for their life time,” explained Soni.
Olivier Drücke, President of the European Solar Thermal Industry Federation (ESTIF), underlined the importance of product development and market research for mass distribution. The presentation by the recently formed Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI) showed that an Indian National Solar Mission target of 20 million m2 of solar water heating systems by 2022 is definitely ambitious but achievable – with the right mix of policies. All in all, the event made clear that the frame conditions for solar heating and cooling in India seem to be ideal and can open up enough prospects for business on the subcontinent.