India, one of the biggest markets for alternative energy technologies, is being targeted by German businesses.
Berthold Breid, CEO of the German Renewable Energy Academy is in Kolkata, India at present, leading a nine-member German delegation promoting its renewable energy products and technology.
The Germans were invited in by the West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation.
The German businesses intend to sell India technological assistance and knowledge transfer in the field of renewable energy, especially for rural electrification and grid integration, Breid told journalists.
The German companies will offer workshops and training under India’s National Solar Mission.
Cost is the governing factor in going green, points out Dr S P Gon Chaudhuri, CEO, West Bengal Green Energy Development Corporation Ltd.
The need of the hour is to bring down the price of solar power products and German technology is accepted as the best in the world in this segment, he adds. With the Government of India announcing a goal to cover 10 percent of its energy demand with renewable energy by 2012, solar power has obviously become the future in the country which houses over 15% of the world’s population, says Dr Gon Chaudhuri.
The carefully calculated feed-in-tariffs fixed by the Central Electricity Regulation Commission (CERC) has for the first time made application of solar technologies economically viable in India. Germany, which has an installed capacity of over 6000 mw of solar power, can further help in bringing down costs of installing solar power and other renewable energy projects in India, according to Dr Gon Chaudhuri.
The Germans are offering products and technological support in industries like solar thermal energy systems generally used to heat domestic water supplies as well as heat detached and semi-detached homes. Unglazed plastic absorbers, used to heat swimming pools, air collectors used for drying agricultural produce and evacuated tube collectors used to transfer thermal energy to solar circuits are some of the other products on offer.
For India, small, decentralized power grids or mini-grids set up by using photovoltaic cells can supply electricity to everything from individual buildings to several small towns. West Bengal has an almost ready green residential project ‘Rabi Rashmi Housing Complex’ which is based on this technology. This was a high-end project, according to Dr Gon Chaudhuri, but costs can come down with German collaboration for other such sites.
German companies are offering battery-supported photovoltaic island systems to provide uninterruptible power supply for countries with unstable, overloaded power grids like India. A long-term cost-effective version of an off-grid electricity supply via island system would be a combination of photovoltaic systems with wind farms and hydropower plants, and if necessary, generators powered by diesel or bio-fuels. According to Mr Breid,
Germany is also keen on training engineers and technicians to manufacture and maintain renewable energy products and systems. A series of workshops and training programs for decision makers, who are in a position to implement alternative energy projects, have already been finalized under the auspices of the National Solar Mission and Germany’s Federal Ministry of Environment. A conference on renewable energy will also be held in Delhi towards the end of this year to augment this effort.
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