India along with the world is facing ‘Energy Crisis’. There is a significant gap in the demand and supply for electricity. Day by day as our country progresses towards development, this gap is increasing and tackling this situation is very important to continue our country’s ascending path. In order to meet this situation a number of options are being considered with a large focus on renewable energy research & development. The options considered are solar energy, biogas, wind energy, geothermal energy to name a few.
Solar thermal power generation, of all the available options is one of the most promising options. This however poses a number of challenges such as availability of technology, adaptation of conventional power cycles to suit particular solar thermal technology, availability of industrial and technological capacity and issues related to indigenous development of technology. To cover up for these problems along with the issue of lack of experience in operating gridconnected solar thermal plants, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India announced a policy to provide incentives on power generated from solar energy and fed to the grid.
To support this background it is essential that we acquire indigenous capability to design, develop and install solar thermal plants. For this, establishing a demonstration-cum-research facility which would help in indigenous development will prove to be a foundation for future development and expansion.
The above issues were discussed at the national workshop on 28 sponsored by Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India and arranged by the Department of Energy Science and Engineering under the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay. The prime objectives of the discussion were:
• To identify critical issues related to technological development of solar thermal power,
• To identify the available capacity of technical and industrial expertise,
• Broad identification of tasks, probable partners and their individual tasks
The workshop received an overwhelming response from various industries, research organisations and academic institutions.
Based on the deliberations at the workshop, it was agreed that solar power is the best solution due to its abundant availability in our country and an immediate initiative should be taken to install a solar thermal plant in India for obtaining necessary experience on its design, installation, operation and maintenance.