High Level SERAC Meeting Held at MNRE for Charting out a Roadmap of Solar R&D for 100 GW Target

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The Government of India plans to install 100 GW of solar power capacity by 2022 through the implementation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). The mission has a major R&D initiative in the area of solar energy. In order to support the R&D strategy, a high level Solar Energy Research Advisory Council (SERAC) meeting was held on November 24, 2015 at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) office, CGO Complex, New Delhi comprising eminent scientists, technical experts, and representatives from academic and research institutions and industry. The SERAC meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Dr Anil Kakodkar. Eight other experts and scientists attended the meeting. The Chairman stressed on the need for going ahead with competitive product development for solar thermal power plant as suggested during the SERAC meeting at IIT Bombay. He also briefed the members about the solar thermal power plant capable of 24X7 operation proposed by IIT Bombay. It was also discussed that as the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) has been entrusted to coordinate Government funded R&D programme, it should also remain seized with management of IPR arising out of such public funded R&D. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) which is mandated with implementation of JNNSM should be linked with such R&D activities that are closer to commercialization and should benefit from IPR generated out of public funded R&D. This would help SECI to build its own technology portfolio and build its capacity to handle new technology. The MNRE should develop adequate policy structure and internal linkages for this purpose.

Some other suggestions made by the Committee were as follows:

  • New thrust areas of solar energy development may be identified and made widely known to R&D community.
  • New innovative solar technology demonstrations may also be covered under a separate stream for R&D funding on solar energy to focus on field evaluations, scale up and commercialization.
  • R&D projects based on innovative ideas from independent young entrepreneurs may also be explored in collaboration with NISE.
  • Funding through soft loan may also be considered for R&D in solar.
  • In order to compete with global quality standard, domestic manufacturers may also be promoted to install equipment for enhancement of efficiency and improving productivity. This may be promoted through R&D support and soft loan.

The Committee also suggested a roadmap of Solar R&D for 100 GW solar energy target by 2022.

  • Encouraged by falling PV prices, availability of high solar potential, likelihood of reaching grid parity soon and a rapid increase in solar installation in recent months, a scale up plan has been formulated to achieve a target of 100 GW of solar installed capacity by 2021–22.
  • It is proposed to divide the target under two categories—Distributed Rooftop Solar Projects (40 GWe), and Medium and Large Scale Solar Projects (60 GWe).

In view of such a huge target and the investment thereof, the quality and domestic value addition aspect need to be carefully addressed.

News Courtesy: Shri Anil Kumar, Scientist C, MNRE

Categories: Solar