According to reports, Solar-thermal technology, backed by General Electric Co. (GE) and Siemens AG (SIE), may concede ground in India like in the U.S. as companies opt for cheaper photovoltaic panels, according to a developer owned by the Enam Group.
Solar thermal, which uses sunlight to produce steam for conventional turbines, has lost the cost and scale advantages it used to have, said Vishal Kedia, director of Visual Percept Solar Projects Pvt., which completed one of India’s largest photovoltaic plants this month.
“In the short-run, it has lost out,” Kedia said in an interview in Mumbai this week. “India will mirror sentiment across the world.”
Only two of 22 companies bid for solar-thermal projects in a December auction held in India’s Karnataka state. The remainder vied for photovoltaic capacity.
The technology has a better chance of being adopted in India to retrofit conventional power plants to reduce fuel consumption by running on solar when possible, Kedia said. India is potentially one of the largest markets for such hybrid solar power plants, according to Areva.