Solar Thermal Applications in Industries in India

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Industrial sectors provide a major thrust to India’s economic growth but are faced with the challenge of managing a growing energy demand as well as the energy demand-supply gap in a sustainable manner. Solar energy technologies could help address the problems faced by these sectors, in a commercially viable manner. However, challenges such as low awareness, high initial investment costs, daily and seasonal variations, the need for policies which are conducive and the shortage in trained man power have hindered the scaling up of the application of solar technologies in these sectors.

Adressing Challanges

To address the challenges faced by the sector and to help various stakeholders realise the commercial potential of solar energy, the “Commercialisation of Solar Energy in Urban and Industrial Areas” (ComSolar) project at GIZ India, is being implemented in close coordination with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). The project is financially supported by the Federal German Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) under the Indo-German Bilateral Cooperation.

As part of the project, a study identifying the most promising industrial sectors for solar applications has already been completed and the electroplating, food processing, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical and textile sectors have shown great promise for solar technology applications. The five sectors were selected based on the energy they consume (in particular their heating and cooling loads), the fuel source used to meet their excess energy demand, the size of the sectors and their existing experience with solar energy technologies. Detailed prefeasibility studies conducted in this study indicate a great potential to save on conventional energy consumption by replacing it with solar energy. A summary of the replacement potentials and estimated monetary savings identified in the study are provided in the table below.


Energy replacement potential (ktoe/ annum)

Estimated monetary savings (Rs million/annum)

Textile (Finishing, spinning & weaving)



Food processing



Pulp & Paper









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