Concentrating Solar Power in India – A Report

This report is an outcome of the AusAID Public Sector Linkages Program (PSLP) project,
Concentrating Solar Power in India“. It was commissioned by the Australian Government
Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE) with the cooperation of the
Government of India Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
The aim of this report is to analyse the context, barriers and policy options for the growth of the CSP industry in India. In the time that has elapsed since the project was proposed, the Government of India has announced its Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM). This visionary policy has significantly addressed many of the barriers for CSP in India.

Consequently the report’s focus has evolved to examine how the JNNSM has altered the investment landscape, options to enhance its potential for long-term success and potential complimentary measures. Many of the observations are applicable to Australia, where the Solar Flagships program aims to develop local capacity by supporting the initial capital costs of two large-scale CSP projects.

The report aims to provide analysis for government policy and program implementation staff in both countries. It may also be of interest to others such as CSP developers and their investors from both India, Australia and elsewhere.

CSP is a proven technology approach and involves concentrating energy from the sun‟s rays to heat a receiver to high temperatures. Typically, this heat is transformed to mechanical energy through a steam turbine and then into electrical energy. In areas of high direct normal solar irradiance, CSP has advantages compared to photovoltaics as it can readily incorporate thermal storage and/or fossil fuel boosting to provide dispatchable power. It can also be used for producing fuels and direct high-grade heat for industrial processes.

The use of relatively ‘low tech’ manufacturing methods for solar fields together with the use of steam turbine power generation adapted from the existing thermal power generation industry makes the prospects of continued rapid scale-up of CSP capacity very feasible.

CSP has potential for significant growth in the coming decades in locations with plenty of
sunshine and clear skies. The International Energy Agency‟s CSP Technology Roadmap
(IEA, 2010) includes scenarios where the global installed capacity of CSP is between 630 GW and 1,500 GW by 2050.

India has the potential to become a major global force in the CSP industry due to the forecast growth in its power generation sector and the effective government support of which the Solar Mission is a key component. India has developed a globally competitive automotive industry and the rapid development of its wind industry is an indicator of the future potential for this growing market.

This report reviews the global status of CSP technology, examines the solar resources and data availability in India, and provides an overview of the electricity market and policy environment in India. It then examines barriers to CSP and the enablers and additional ideas that will help overcome them, both globally and specific to India. Capability building and possible approaches to pilot plant construction are also explored.

About Ritesh Pothan

Ritesh Pothan, is an accomplished speaker and visionary in the Solar Energy space in India. Ritesh is from an Engineering Background with a Master’s Degree in Technology and had spent more than a decade as the Infrastructure Head for a public limited company with the last 9 years dedicated to Solar and Renewable Energy. He also runs the 2 largest India focused renewable energy groups on LinkedIn - Solar - India and Renewables - India
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