The President of India has given his approval for the continuation of renewable energy research and technology development (RETD) program for implementation during 2017-18 and 2019-20 at the cost of ₹1.75 billion (~$24.70 million). The program comes under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
The objective of the program is to promote indigenous technology development and manufacture for widespread applications of renewable energy such as solar thermal systems, solar photovoltaic systems biogas systems, waste to energy systems, wind energy systems, hybrid systems, storage systems, hydrogen and fuels cells, geothermal, etc. aimed at increasing the share of renewables in the energy mix of the country.
It is also expected to make the renewable industry more competitive along with self-sustainable and profitable. The RETD has listed R&D priorities of various areas and their technology gaps. For example, technology gaps in solar PV and import dependence for wafers, cells, and modules, mass manufacturing of cells and modules, and availability of alternative options in emerging technologies. In the case of wind energy, it mentions the technology gaps and import dependence on technologies for offshore wind deployment, modeling, and simulation to ensure accurate forecasting.
Proposals from academic institutions, universities, research institutes, government, and nonprofit research organizations would be eligible for 100 percent financial support in the total project cost. Whereas, financial support to the private research organizations would be restricted at up to 50 percent of the project cost.
Considering the size scope and the goals to achieve 175 GW of renewables by 2022, a $25 million budget for R&D is a pittance.
Recently, Mercom reported that MNRE had also invited project proposals for research, development, and demonstration in areas of new and renewable energy from R&D organizations or institutions, universities, and industries.
The Assam Energy Development Agency had also invited proposals from independent institutions and organizations to set up a research and development facility in the state. The facility will be in the field of renewable energy and will be supported by the Science and Technology Department of the Government of Assam.