India’s progress on Solar Heat for Industrial Process

Industry account for more than 50% of the country’s energy needs and a lot of these energy sources must be imported, either as oil, gas or high-quality coal. The medium and small scale industries in India use only low to medium temperatures of below 400 °C, which Solar Heat for Industrial Process (SHIP) can supplement to greater extent. The Webinar was ticketed as “The Heat is On” and had the following focus:

  • Findings of the Solar Payback project
  • Assess the size of the opportunity for Solar heat in India and the policies that are driving this technology forward
  • Learn about the potential of RESCOs to promote market development
  • Experts advice on new policies that can accelerate to the deployment of SHIP in India

The Webinar saw a record over 300 registrations including few international participants. They were drawn from Dairy processing, food processing, brewery, pharmaceuticals, automobile component manufacturers, chemicals and textiles besides certified Energy Auditors. Link to the webinar:

In the discussion in the chat room several participants expressed lack of awareness about SHIP technology, which calls for greater capacity building workshops and media attention. Some even shared on government’s favouritism to solar Photovoltaic and ignorance of the solar thermal, which has much higher conversion efficiency. While India did have two international programmes under UNDP and UNIDO that led to several demonstration projects being set up but participants felt more needs to be done with a strong policy measure. The idea of RESCO model also generated enthusiasm and participants welcomed it as one of the measures to accelerate.

An interesting question put up was why internationally reputed manufacturers of solar thermal not exploiting Indian market considering it an industrious country and rich with consistent sunlight round the year. Some industry participants requested government and Solar Thermal Federation of India to organise study tours in other countries that have success stories. This would give a first-hand experience about successful solar thermal installations.

Jan Knaack Senior Project Manager for International Affairs said “The webinar indicates that the future of SHIP technology is on the rise. Market potentials for SHIP technologies in some low and mid temperature industries are massive and some technologies like stationary collectors or parabolic trough collectors have demonstrated their reliability in hundreds of applications around the world. The Solar Payback website provides a great overview of technology providers and valuable project examples.”

Dattatreya Ghanekar Gokul Dairy stressed that “National Dairy Development Board be made the single window for technical consultancy and administrative efforts for all cooperative dairy industries in India for the executing of solar thermal energy systems”. He further requested the central government to continue with subsidies in order to make the projects feasible.

The success case study presented on use of concentrated solar thermal heating system at Unique Biotech was appreciated and drew praise of the participants.

Jaideep Malaviya, Secretary General – Solar Thermal Federation of India presented the findings of Solar Payback study. Dairy processing and food processing had greatest potential to use solar process heat and can assist in greenhouse gases reduction by saving on fossil fuel. A defined installed target over five-year aided with Heating Obligation can be the driver for the market.

The subsidy on solar thermal systems had its own ups and downs and there were several learning out of it. Firstly solar thermal systems are not consistently performing and each technology has different output. Hence area based subsidy is unfitting degree. Rather it should be performance based. Secondly SHIP technologies call for higher capital expenditure thus there should be concessional funding and government should act as guarantor to Banks and Financial Institutions.

Overall the discussions concluded that SHIP is ‘Sleeping giant and the best is yet to come’

Solar Payback project started in 2016 is supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry and funded by the International Climate Initiative and is implemented in India, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil. It is coordinated by the German Solar Association (BSW-Solar).  Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI) and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce (IGCC) are the Indian partner organisations.

Link to the Solar Payback project website:

Link to the webinar recordings: