Apr. 5, 2010 —
Given the huge thrust on solar photovoltaics in India, it was no surprise that the Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI), was recently launched in New Delhi.
For those who came in late, in November 2009, the government of India unveiled the historic Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM), with a very ambitious target of 20 GW by 2022.
STFI's primary agenda is evolving an appropriate policy framework and user-friendly financing mechanism to make this target realizable by working in close coordination with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Ministry of Power and Ministry of Urban Development, respectively.
K. Subramanya, CEO, Tata-BP Solar will be the chairman of STFI. Hemant Revankar, managing director of Bipin Engineers, will be the vice-chairman, and Jaideep Malaviya, an industry veteran with two decades of experience, will be STFI's full-time president.
Besides these stalwarts, senior executives of major players in the industry will play an active role in STFI in various capacities.
Subramanya apprised me of the steps to be taken by the STFI to promote solar thermal products such as solar water heaters and cookers in the country.
He said that it would include suggestions and awareness building, bank finance, promotion and publicity by the manufacturers as well.
Perhaps here's a huge opportunity for those of you dealing in solar thermal products such as solar water heaters and cookers to enter India – given its huge market potential.
Players in India, who control over 75 percent of the solar thermal market, have come together to float the STFI with the aim to expand solar water heating usage, and promote applications beyond that as well. As of now, solar water heating is the only subject in focus.
On the subject of STFI working on setting up a talent pool in the country, Subramanya said that members would be deliberating among themselves to take this forward.
Finally, a first of its kind certification program from the STFI will address a key issue hindering end-user confidence and allow trouble-free usage for 25 years, which is the typical life of a solar water heater installation. STFI aims to partner and work closely with associations and regional, national and international institutes.