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India is world leader in concentrated solar heating, says Renewable Energy Ministry

According to reports, with some 80 different applications of concentrated solar heating in practice in the country, India is the world leader in CSH, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has said.

When you speak of solar energy, you think mainly of solar panels and electricity flowing from them. Then you would think of appliances such as solar water heaters and solar lamps.

But the big use of solar energy lies in directly using the sun’s heat for use in industry. Lots of manufacturing units require just low-to-medium temperature heat, up to 250 degrees Celsius, mostly for drying stuff. Today, this heating is done by burning fuel oil, coal or biomass.

Here is where India scores, both in terms of potential and also applications developed, says the Ministry.

“India is leading the world with around 80 CSH applications,” it has said in a background note to UNDP-GEF sponsored project for nurturing CSH technologies in India.

Without going into details of the 80 applications, the Ministry has noted that the predominant use of concentrated solar heating is in “institutional cooking”.

In India, the current CSH market is about 2,000-3,000 square metres a year (of the concentrated area), says MNRE. The Global Environment Fund project will complement MNRE’s efforts of CSH technology, awareness, capacity, market and financial barriers and increase CSH sales to 15,000 square metres by 2016.

Direct emission reductions from the demonstration and replication projects during the 5-year project duration will be 39,200 tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent.

Over the economic lifetime of 20 years for the project supported CSH applications, cumulative direct emission reductions will be 315,000 tonnes of CO2, the Ministry says.

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