Coimbatore: India still has a long way to go to realize its renewable energy goals, said Joerg Gaebler, principal advisor of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), an agency which works with the government of Germany for sustainable development.
Joerg Gaebler was in the city on Thursday to inaugurate the state-of-the-art photovoltaic thermal (PVT) solar power systems on the Government College of Technology (GCT) campus in the city.
Gaebler said India had fixed a target of 175gW of renewable energy by 2022 of which 100gW was from solar energy. But there is still a lot India had to do for this, he said. “India fulfilling its renewable energy target is a global problem as India, a developing country, consumes more electricity and its consumption would grow five to six times in the next 10 years,” he said.
Gaebler said switching to alternate energy resources falls in line with the decision of Paris Agreement of containing the increase in global temperature by 1.5°C.
The two solar power systems installed in two hostel blocks of GCT is a hybrid system called Photovoltaic Thermal (PVT) technology. The panels have a standard photovoltaic module along with a polymer absorber. This system harvests solar energy and gives electrical output while also harvesting thermal energy in the form of hot water. Gaebler said the traditional photovoltaic systems lose efficiency in hot climates due to overheating. The PVT technology has water coolant which is circulated through the system. This would help in bringing down the heating of the system, while harvesting thermal energy.
While PVT technology was not new, it had been complicated and expensive and only 10 years ago affordable manufacturing of the system was devised, said Gaebler.
He said for the same cost – Rs 60 to Rs 80 per watt – as that of the traditional solar power systems, the PVT system gives four times the power output – electrical and thermal combined. The system also requires lesser space, he said.
Principal of GCT P Thamarai said the equipment which costs around Rs 27 lakh was given by GIZ and the college had invested Rs 15 lakh for installing it. The two PVT systems installed in two hostel blocks would be used for generating power and for providing hot water for hostels.
The PVT system installed in GCT was the first in South India and GIZ would next install it in Puducherry, said Gaebler. He said they were also planning to manufacture PVT panels in India and talks for that would begin in May 2019.