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Focus on Concentrated Solar Thermal technologies in the state

Bhopal. The state of Madhya Pradesh has done a lot of progress in Solar Photovoltaic Technology. State has already installed 1200 MW capacity of Solar projects and further 1100 MW is in progress. However, not much has been accomplished in the field of Concentrated Solar Thermal technology (CST) in the state. CST uses mirrors to concentrate the solar radiation and converts it into heat to create steam which can be used in an industry.

A meeting was organized at Madhya Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Department’s office in Bhopal for promotion of concentrated solar thermal based technologies in the state. An expert’s delegation from Tokyo University Japan, Researchers from IIT Jodhpur, Officials from United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Industry Participants were present in the meeting. The meeting was chaired by Manu Srivastava, Principal Secretary, Madhya Pradesh New and Renewable Energy Department.

The meeting was organized to assess various applications of CST based technologies, such as in industrial processes, space cooling/heating, power generation, etc. Supplementing the heat requirement of industries operating in the state by CST based technologies will reduce the dependencies on fossil based fuels and will result in lower carbon emission.

Currently Ministry of New and Renewable Energy provides a 30% subsidy on the benchmark cost of the concentrated solar based systems. United Nations Industrial Development Organization provides soft loan for such systems. An interest subsidy of 5% is provided to borrowers through IREDA. Borrowers can also avail bridge loan from UNIDO for the MNRE subsidy component, since the MNRE subsidy is provided after the system is commissioned.

Industries where steam is a major input in the industrial process can benefit from use of concentrated solar thermal based technologies. Textile, Pulp and paper, food processing and chemical industries are some of the industries where heated steam is used. UNIDO has identified 14 industries where CST technology can be put to use. Most of these industries have industrial boiler as a key component which is used for generation of heated steam.

It is decided that industries operating in the five industrial clusters in the state, namely Indore, Bhopal, Jabalpur, Gwalior and bordering Nagpur, shall be targeted for promotion of this technology. MPNRED, along with researchers in the field, will conduct workshops in these industrial clusters to educate industry practitioners on CST technology and its use in industrial processes. Industry associations, such as CII, FICCI and Assocham, shall also be partnered for promotion of the technology.

It is also decided that CST technology’s application in space cooling to be further explored as it can find applications in commercial sector such as malls and offices for air conditioning. MP being an agrarian state, its application in cold storage for stocking food items can solve a number of problems of farmers in the state.