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SOLAR WATER HEATERS: LACK OF AWARENESS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE

17 Sep 2019

The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) provides industrialised countries with Associate in Nursing incentive to take a position in emission reduction comes in developing countries to attain a discount in CO2 emissions at lowest price that additionally promotes property development within the host country. Solar water heating systems (SWHs) might be of interest below the CDM as a result of they directly displace greenhouse emission emissions whereas contributory to property development by reducing native pollutants. However, there are solely 3 star water heating comes below the CDM to this point. A shot has been created to estimate the CDM potential of SWHs in Bharat during this study. Our estimates indicate that there's a colossal theoretical potential of CO2 mitigation by the employment of SWHs in Bharat. The annual conditioned emotional response potential of SWHs in Bharat may on paper reach twenty seven million tonnes. Below additional realistic assumptions concerning diffusion of SWHs supported past experiences with the government-run programmes, annual conditioned emotional response volumes by 2012 may reach 4–9 million and 15–22 million by 2020. This may need that the govt. sets the grant level for SWHs at level that enables them to become viable with the conditioned emotional response revenue. From a macro-economic purpose of read this is smart if the property advantages are deemed sufficiently high to warrant promotion of this project kind.           

The Indian Government has been making an attempt to develop and promote the employment of star thermal energy through star water heating systems for a couple of decade. Efforts during this direction had been happening on a smaller scale for a minimum of five years before that. Numerous styles and mixtures of materials are tried out. Solar water heating systems, domestic and non-domestic (commercial or industrial), are fairly well-established within the marketplace as a viable different to the employment of non-renewable energy choices for water heating. This review traces the evolution of the technology throughout the last decade.

 

Solar water heaters in India: Market assessment studies and surveys for various sectors and demand segments by Greentech data Solutions

The report endeavors to check the solar warmer (SWH) market in Bharat and project a realizable demand until 2022. It’s at the trade structure, provide conditions and price proposition. It depends heavily on interactions with a good vary of stakeholders, like SWH users, potential SWH users, state level renewable energy development agencies, architects and builders, banks, municipal firms, electricity distribution firms and pollution management boards.

It has tried to piece along a segment-wise image. In keeping with the study, there has been a requirement upsurge for SWH in recent years within the Indian market. Whereas there's overall satisfaction with product expertise, issues are being voiced over after-sale support. The event of rural market warrants massive, contemporary ads terms of product-development, demonstration, policy and promotion of provide chain.

It identifies the parameters driving demand and builds three situations for demand projection - realistic or most possible; optimistic and bearish that is each thought-about less likely. It additionally compares the demand projections below the realistic state of affairs with the targets set for star water heating within the recently proclaimed Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) and finds a substantial gap between the two.

To conclude, the study identifies ten key action points for the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Global Environment Facility (GEF) project:

  • Selection of high-potential districts for implementation
  • Implementation through Electricity Distribution Companies
  • Implementation oriented mandatory regulations
  • Strategy for multi-storied buildings
  • Targeted and variable incentives package
  • Rural market development
  • Strategy to strengthen SWH supply chain
  • Developing a database of SWH installations
  • Sector and region specific market assessment studies
  • Promoting Energy Service Company (ESCO) based models

 

A solar water heating system (SWHS) is a device that makes available the thermal energy of the incident solar radiation for use in various water heatingapplications. SWHS largely depends on the performance of the collector's efficiency at capturing the incident solar radiation and transferring it to the water. With today's SWHS, water can be heated up to temperatures of 60–80 °C. Heated water is collected in a tank insulated to prevent heat loss. Circulation of water from the tank through the collectors and back to the tank continues automatically due to the thermo siphon principle. The hot water generated finds many end-use applications in domestic, commercial, and industrial sectors. India has the highest energy intensities in Asia. Very little investment and priority are being given to increase of the efficiency. On the other hand, the India has a high potential for developing energy production from renewable energy sources (RES): solar, water, wind and biomass. However, these potentials are not studied and exploited enough and the present situation for their utilization is not so good. Although energy is a critical foundation for economic growth and social progress of any country, there are many constraints for RES development in all of them (political, technological, financial, legislative, educational, etc.). Obviously, defining development strategies and new support measures is necessary since renewable energy sources can make an important contribution to the regional energy supply and security. The main purpose of this paper is to explore the solar water heating system (opportunities) in India.

The ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) has set a target of installing 2000MW off-grid solar applications by 2022 and solar water heating plays a major role in implementing clean energy measures in India. With cold regions in its north and several urban localities in rest of the country in regular need of hot water, India presents an immense potential for the growth of its solar water heating industry. However, the industry needs to brave several challenges and constant comparison with China. Moreover, there is a need for better implementation of the schemes and enforcement of laws. Sayantani De presents a detailed view of the industry’s status in India

As the JNNSM reaches the completion of its first phase, the mid-term assessments of its targets are being done; solar water heating sector is no exception. It is the most widely acceptable form of decentralised solar applications in India and has picked up among the industrial segments to a great extent. India receives an estimated solar radiation of more than 5,000 trillion kWh per year, far exceeding the total annual energy requirement of the country. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) counts India’s total techno-economic potential in solar water heating as 40million square metres of which 5.6 million square metres have seen installations;  and targets to achieve 20million square metres till the completion of JNNSM in 2022.

 

The system

Solar water heating systems are an eco-friendly device that uniformly heats the water stored in it and when connected to a distribution system, may well function as a reservoir of hot water – a reliable source. A good quality solar water heater can heat the water up to 60?C–80?C depending on solar radiation, weather conditions and efficiency of the solar collector system. The installation should tilt towards south at an angle that is equal to the latitude of the place and produces 100 – 300 litres of hot water (for domestic application) on any regular day except for rainy and overcast day. A solar water heater can be installed in homes, hostels, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, dairies, laundries and industries on the roofs, terrace of buildings and open ground with no shades.

 

Advantages of solar water heaters

Although it incurs a cost slightly more than a normal geyser, advantages of solar water heaters are aplenty. An average solar water heater has a life span of 15 – 20 years that eases the costs of approximately Rs. 16,000 – Rs. 22,000 for a 100 litres capacity system and Rs. 110 – Rs. 150 per installed litre for higher capacity systems in normal conditions with a payback time of 2 – 4 years.  A solar water heater with 100 litres capacity can save up to 1500 units of electricity annually when used in a residence. Using 1000 solar water heaters of 100 litres capacity each can ease a peak load shaving of 1 MW. Solar water heating system of 100 litres can also prevent up to 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission per year.

 

Scope in India

At a glance, India as a tropical country doesn’t attract much interest in terms of a market for the solar water heating systems since most of the country receives quite high solar irradiation and may not apparently pose any requirement for hot water. However, at a closer look, the booming services sector and hilly regions in the northern part of India form a lucrative market with continuous demand of hot water for their daily needs. According to an independent report, the high demand regions have hot water demand for ≥ 9 months in a year, while for the lower end it is 4 months a year.

Estimates show the total hot water requirement in Himalayan region alone at more than 7001 million litres per day (LPD), most of which is met through burning biomass or fossil fuel. This presents a tremendous opportunity for the solar water heating system industry for sustainable means to produce hot water that too in a large quantity without altering the daily life much. 

 

Challenges ahead: access, quality and awareness

The solar water heating market has seen a rapid growth in past two years where the covered area has reached 11, 00,000 sq. metre in 2011-12 from 10, 00,000 sq. metre in 2010-11. However, the industry is facing a continuous challenge especially in form of awareness about the systems hindered by their lack of availability in open market that may reach the consumers directly. Currently, willing party approaches the State Nodal Agency (SNA) or Directorate General of Supplies & Disposals (DGS&D) or the accredited channel partners of MNRE for installations of the systems wherein the supplier gives the mandatory 5 years performance guarantee for the installed system.

“We need three-pronged strategy to deal with this. Users should be convinced to use solar water heaters and more awareness should be spread regarding the system among the mass. Also, we should develop a mechanism wherein the systems are available in the open market so that consumers can buy it easily,” Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said.

Quality of the solar water heaters currently available in the market remains another stumbling block in the growth of the market that Kapoor says is “not growing at a pace that is required to match the potential”. Drawing comparisons with China in achievements in the sector, Kapoor said India is way behind China in number of households and institutions opting for solar water heating systems. “China is a world leader in solar water heating with 60 per cent coverage against total installations of 280 million sq. m. of collector area,” Dr AK Singhal, Director of Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, said.

“China is focused on quality with a very strong standard and certification mechanism,” Dr. S N Srinivas, Programme Analyst (Energy for Development), UNDP said. “China had 10 standards for SWH and the UNDP project added another four. Standards cover both manufacturing processes and product performance. In addition to it, there are certification requirements for manufacturing processes wherein certification serves as the bridge between standards and testing,” Srinivas said while describing the experience of global project on solar water heating by UNDP.

India is also a part of the UNDP-GEF project that aims to promote the market of solar water heating by enhancing technical capacity development. It also targets providing support for three additional Concentrated Solar Heating (CSH) technologies, increasing awareness and strengthening technical capacities of manufacturers, installers and CSH users, supporting 30 CSH demonstration projects and at least 60 replication projects and addressing financial barriers such as low payback on CSH investments and lack of performance-based incentives.

At the closure of the project in December this year, an estimated reduction of 39,200 tonnes of CO2 in direct emission are expected which over the next 20 years is expected to cut down 315,000 tonnes of Co2 emissions. The project began in India in September 2008 also expects to save 3.15 million litres of fuel oil per year.

“The Ministry of Urban Development has issued orders to states and many Municipal Corporations. Municipalities are following them but the enforcement is poor. A few Corporations are doing a good job in this direction and this needs to be followed by others,” Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah said during a recent award distribution ceremony for the solar water heating industry in New Delhi.

After sales service to ensure maintenance of the installed system too is an area that needs attention as a lot of systems are discarded post malfunction as there is a dearth of trained people to repair it. “Industry needs to gear up to take up such ambitious goal. They need to ensure that they have a good marketing and after sales repair and servicing network and the systems are installed of best quality. Quality of the product is very important and this needs to be done by giving proper training to their technicians by the industry. We need to develop confidence of the users on the product or else we all will be criticized for doing a poor service to the nation,” Abdullah said while referring to an incident where people were supplied with broken panels in Gurez area of Jammu & Kashmir.

Skilled manpower is one of the pressing problems of the solar water heating industry and the train-the-trainers module by International Copper Promotion Council (India) seeks to address it. “In our interactions with the industry people and the ministry officials, one thing that came to the fore was the lack of skilled people to install the solar water heaters which are somewhat different than what a normal plumber does. That is why we have introduced this training module where the instructors who train the plumbers in the Industrial Training Institutes (I.T.I.) across India are given a manual to specialise the interested candidates in installing solar water heaters. Therefore, the person is also getting an added skill besides that of a regular plumber. This opens a broader area of employment for the person who is probably not even a graduate,” Sanjeev Ranjan, CEO of ICPCI tells Energy Next.

“In October this year, we are also going to launch a designer’s handbook. We are also working on the modalities to see whether the current training module can become a part of the ITI’s curriculum. Besides, ICPCI is also focussing on the standard and labelling for solar water heaters in collaboration with Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE),” Ranjan said.

The training module has generated positive reactions in the industry welcoming the move. “Earlier the market was not big enough, but now the market is expanding and there is an urgent need to fill the demand–supply gap. MNRE took the right step here,” T J Joseph, Managing Director of Anu Solar says, adding, “We were a part of that program. The students were with us training for two days. We need a combination of government and promotion by company to popularise the use of solar water heaters, thereby expanding the market.”

But all this will succeed only when the end consumers are aware of the pluses and opt for solar water heaters against electric geysers. According to a market assessment survey done by Greentech Knowledge Solutions, lack of conducive policies and awareness among the people remain the difficult last-mile that is yet to be addressed. The survey shows areas with high availability of solar resources are deficient in several counts – awareness, mandatory provisions, subsidy disbursement, supply chain, electricity tariff and access to credit to mention some. Even some areas such as Ladakh in Jammu & Kashmir which has ‘excellent’ availability of sunlight was marked with ‘poor’ in terms of awareness, subsidy disbursement, supply chain and access to credit besides absence of mandatory provisions and ‘low’ electricity tariff.

 

Main barriers for SWH market in Himalayan states

“At least 95 per cent of the market for solar water heaters is located in the urban areas with rapid increase in institutional need for these systems. In Srinagar alone, 10 Detailed Project Reports (DPR) has been prepared for hotels; this is going to open a big market soon,” Sameer Maithel, Director, Greentech Knowledge Solutions Pvt Ltd said. “However, there is a need for conducive policies and customised products – the main challenge for the solar water heating industry ahead is to develop hybrid products,” Maithel adds.

 

Regulatory and legal push: need of the hour

On the local level, municipal corporations and similar urban or rural government bodies are in charge of promoting the use of solar water heater among the people there. While Karnataka and Maharashtra lead the bandwagon; Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) was adjudged the winner in one of the categories at a recent award distribution ceremony by MNRE.

I had visited Shirdi about two years back and saw that food for about 20,000 people was being cooked every day using this technology. Such systems have been installed at many other religious places such as Tirumala Deva Sansthan, Tirupati, Brahmakumaris Ashram, Mount Abu, and Art of Living, Bangalore apart from various Universities and Colleges’ Hostels. These technologies have also been tried for cooling and process heat applications. The examples are, however, very few. We need to extend them at more and more places. The potential is vast and we need to tap it,” Farooq Abdullah said.

“Urban and local bodies play a major role in strategizing the growth of the solar water heating sector. We need updated figures on the issue and try to rope in the old buildings in our respective areas to replace their old electric geysers with solar water heaters. MNRE will continue with the subsidies, but social sector organisations, state nodal agencies and other related bodies have to play a proactive role in this – only 100 out of 250 municipal bodies have modified and enforced building bye-laws to accommodate provisions for solar water heaters,” MNRE Joint Secretary Tarun Kapoor said. For the systems that use evacuated tubes, importing the same remains a sticking point that also adds on to the cost of the final product, Kapoor said.

The local bodies however point out the lack of monitoring and maintenance of solar water heating systems while being installed and/or after that. “There is no mechanism to check and ensure that the solar water heater is working once the newly constructed building with the facility is handed over to the residential society. Such lacuna creates several cases where the solar water heaters, once dysfunctional, may not be repaired and electric geysers may find their way,” representatives from Thane said.

In Ambala, the intended beneficiaries of the subsidy i.e. the end customers are reportedly not getting the benefits because the solar water heaters are being sold at market price, thus depriving the customers of the subsidy amount as allotted by the government. The representatives called for an effective monitoring system that would seek the state nodal agencies to function in a time bound manner and be accountable. The government has assured them of stern action against the defaulters while launching a web-based system named SOLARWHIN to track and monitor the movements in the sector.

For a sector that is growing everyday with an immense scope to prosper, coordination with the government and gaining confidence of the end customers are crucial to tap the market that is waiting for a cost-effective and sustainable mode to produce hot water for their daily needs.

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