Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Solar Country Notes
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), formerly the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, working in conjunction with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) continues to promote the utilisation of all forms of solar power, as part of the drive to increase the share of renewable energy in the Indian market. This promotion is being achieved through R&D, demonstration projects, government subsidy programmes, programmes based on cost recovery supported by IREDA, and also private sector projects.
India has a good level of solar radiation, receiving the solar energy equivalent of more than 5 000 trillion kWh/yr. Depending on the location, the daily incidence ranges from 4 to 7 kWh/m2, with the hours of sunshine ranging from 2 300 to
3 200 per year. Solar thermal and solar photovoltaic technologies are both encompassed by the Solar Energy Programme that is being implemented by the Ministry. The Programme, regarded as one of the largest in the world, plans to utilise India's estimated solar power potential of 20 MW/km2, and 35 MW/km2 solar thermal. The country has also developed a substantial manufacturing capability, becoming a lead producer in the developing world.
Within the overall drive towards renewable energy, the Ministry conducts separate programmes for solar thermal and solar photovoltaic.
The Solar Thermal Development Programme covers solar water heating, solar cooking, solar air heating and solar buildings.
India's overall potential for solar water heating systems has been estimated to be 140 million m2 of collector area. Up to the present, about 1 million m2 of collector area has been installed - a low level in comparison with the potential, and as compared with other countries, notably China. A Government scheme for 'Accelerated development and deployment of Solar Water Heating systems in domestic, industrial and commercial sectors' has been introduced, with the object of promoting the installation of another million m2 of collector area during FY 2005-06 and 2006-07. The scheme offers a number of financial and promotional incentives, along with other measures of support. The installation of Evacuated Tube Collectors is being officially encouraged.
Five types of solar cookers have been developed:
cardboard solar cooker: low-cost, portable, one or two dishes at a time;
box solar cooker: small, four dishes at a time, intended for small families;
dish solar cooker: fast cooking device for homes and small establishments, for 10-15 people;
community solar cooker for indoor cooking: large, automatically-tracked parabolic reflector, standing outside kitchen through an opening in the north wall, with a secondary reflector further concentrating the rays on to the bottom of the black-painted cooking pot, for 40-50 people;
solar steam cooking system: large, automatically-tracked parabolic reflectors, coupled in a series and parallel combination, generating steam for use in community kitchens, for thousands of people, usually installed in conjunction with a conventionally fuelled boiler; the world's largest solar cooking system installed at Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh, has the capacity to provide food for
15 000 people per day.
Solar air heating technology has been applied to various industrial and agricultural processes (e.g. drying/curing, regeneration of dehumidifying agents, timber seasoning, leather tanning) and also for space heating; many types of solar dryers have been developed for use in different situations. The Government provides financial support for solar air heating/drying systems, and also for solar concentrating systems such as the 160 m2 parabolic-dish concentrator recently installed for use in milk pasteurisation at a dairy in Maharashtra.
Solar buildings have been promoted by the MNRE in an effort to increase energy efficiency; the state government in Himachal Pradesh has actively promoted the incorporation of passive solar design into building design.
The Solar Photovoltaic Programme (SPV) promoted by the Ministry for the past two decades, has been aimed particularly at rural and remote areas. Following the success of the country-wide SPV demonstration and utilisation programme during the period of the Ninth Plan, it is planned, with certain modifications, to continue it during the Tenth Plan (2002-2007).
Of the approximately 80 000 villages not currently connected to the grid, about 18 000 are too remote ever to be considered. The Ministry has the objective that by 2010 they will all have access to power from renewable energy sources, with the Tenth Plan electrifying 5 000 of them. During 2005-2006 the Ministry supported the supply of solar lanterns to certain unelectrified villages.
Among the numerous stand-alone applications of PV found in India are the following:
emergency/back-up lighting for roads and other areas;
control systems for switching street lights on/off;
back-up systems for traffic signals;
illuminated road studs;
warning lights at road hazards;
BIPV systems for load-shaving at peak hours;
power packs to replace small gasoline/kerosine-powered generators.
In a country where agriculture is a major component of the economy, the SPV Water Pumping Programme will continue to subsidise the large-scale use of PV-powered (1 800 Wp) pumping systems for farmers.
The Ministry is also implementing a programme for water-pumping windmills, small aerogenerators and wind-PV hybrid systems to enable the huge Indian wind resource to be harnessed in conjunction with the solar power available. These applications will be fully researched and demonstrated prior to deployment in remote areas.
The MNRE is developing a chain of Akshay Urja Shops (previously called Aditya Solar Shops). These are showroom-cum-sales and service centres, initially established to sell solar energy products; their scope has now been widened to cover all renewable energy systems and devices. So far, 104 shops have been opened in 28 States or Union Territories, and the Ministry plans for at least one to exist in each district throughout the country.