MNRE Invites EoI to Evaluate its Solar Thermal Off-Grid Program

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued an expression of interest (EoI) for conducting technical and performance evaluation of its program for off-grid and decentralized concentrated solar thermal (CST) technologies for community cooking, process heat, and space heating and cooling applications in industrial, institutional and commercial establishments.

Announced by the MNRE in 2014, this program aims to promote the use of CST technology for reducing dependence on fossil fuels for thermal applications like community cooking, process heating, cooling, and drying.

The program was further extended to 2019-20 for the promotion of the application of solar thermal. Through the evaluation study, the MNRE is looking to analyze the effectiveness, impact, and necessity of this initiative. Moreover, the study is expected to help the ministry to decide on how to revise or renew the program.

The scope of work of this study would include a technical and performance evaluation of installed CST projects in the country with the cooperation of MNRE’s CST division and state nodal agencies.



For this study, installations having collector or reflector size greater than 500 square meters would be evaluated. For other projects, 10% of them will be selected on a random basis from different states and manufacturers. The evaluation will comprise of assessing a plethora of data points of CST installations such as location, year of development, type, configuration, suppliers, application/sanction number, working time, return rations, system performance among many other aspects.

Companies interested in participating in this EoI would need to provide technical experience, methodology, and organizational structure.

In April 2019, the MNRE issued a draft quality control order for solar thermal systems as per the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Act to address the lack of quality certification in solar components which has become a common concern in the sector.

Mercom has written about how the lack of regulations for product quality certification, intense competition, and absence of requisite awareness has only emboldened the quality problem in India’s rooftop solar sector.

Image credit: sunflower-solar.com