German firm hot on India's solar energy market

Friday, 30 November 2007, 11:21 Hrs
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New Delhi: Roth and Rau, a Germany-based solar cell manufacturing solutions provider, sees India emerging as the fourth largest generator of solar energy and a key driver of its global business in the coming years.

"Although still a small market, India is catching up fast with world majors in solar energy generation," Thomas Hengst, vice-president of Roth and Rau, said while speaking about his group's plans for India in this clean energy source.

"Roth and Rau is expecting orders worth as much as 80 million euros from India in 2008 from two million euros at present," Hengst told IANS.

Apart from Germany, Roth and Rau supplies equipment to various countries including Japan and China.

"India still is not among the world's top 10 solar energy generators. But at the current pace of 20 percent annual growth, India can emerge as the fourth largest generator of solar energy after Germany, Japan and China in the coming years."

Hengst said his company had entered the solar equipment-manufacturing segment in India in 2004. Currently four Indian solar cell manufacturers including Central Electronics Ltd and Maharishi Solar were sourcing equipment from Roth and Rau.

According to statistics available with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), India receives solar energy equivalent of over 5,000 trillion kWh per year.

The daily average solar energy incident over India varies from 4-7 kWh per square metres, depending upon the location, but the high cost of equipment remains a constraint in its large-scale utilisation, officials said.

The estimated unit cost of electricity from grid connected solar energy plant is estimated at 12-15 per unit, which is much higher compared to power available from other renewable energy sources like wind and biomass.

For now, solar energy systems are mainly being used for standalone applications such as lighting, telecommunication, small power requirements, battery charging, water heating and cooking.

So far, around 1.4 million solar photovoltaic systems aggregating to about 110 MW peak solar photovoltaic module capacity have been installed in the country.

In addition about 600,000 solar cookers and 2 million square metres of collector area has been installed for solar water heating applications that is equivalent to about 1,400 MW of thermal capacity, officials said.`
Source: IANS
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