Operational efficiency is crucial for the success of both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP) projects. Solar tracking systems, which help solar panels in absorbing the maximum radiation at any given time, are witnessing rapid uptake globally. These tracking systems can align solar equipment with respect to the sun's changing position during the day, thereby maximising the power output.

The state of Tamil Nadu is rich in renewable energy (RE) sources, especially wind and solar. Currently, approximately one-third of the country’s installed RE capacity exists in Tamil Nadu alone.

Tamil Nadu government has announced this policy for the state with an aim of generating 1,000 Mw of solar power every year from 2015, setting up of solar energy parks along with incentives for solar power producers and equipment manufacturers.

This new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) shows that concentrated solar power can play an essential role in achieving a secure and diversified energy future for India.

The solar heating and cooling (SHC) roadmap outlines a pathway for solar energy to supply almost one sixth (18 EJ) of the world’s total energy use for both heating and cooling by 2050. This would save some 800 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year; more than the total CO2 emissions in Germany in 2009.

This new report provides a comprehensive overview of renewable energy market, industry and policy developments worldwide. At least 118 countries, more than half of which are developing countries had renewable energy targets in place by early 2012, up from 109 as of early 2010.

Concentrating Solar Thermal power (CST) has a tremendous potential for scaling up renewable energy at the utility level, diversifying the generation portfolio mix, powering development, and mitigating climate change.

What was once hailed as an endless source of desert electricity has now fallen by the wayside in the profitability race. Is concentrated solar power condemned to remain a niche player in the energy market.

Dr Bibek Bandyopadhyay is Senior Scientific Advisor in the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and heads the Solar Energy Centre (SEC). He is an expert in the fields of hydrogen energy, fuel cells, solar, thermal, development of green buildings and solar cities. In conversation he discusses the research and development activities undertaken by the ministry, the present challenges faced by the solar sector, and the future opportunities in solar and hydrogen energy.

Being the first Concentrated Solar Power plant based on tower technology in Asia, the proposed 10-MW plant that is being constructed at Bikaner is well in line with the ambitious goals of Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM).