Career Opportunities and Skill Development in Solar Technology: India
Various European and US studies suggest that 25 to 30 direct jobs are created for every MWp of power generating plant installed using Solar technology. MNRE has estimated that in order to achieve the target of 20 GW by 2022, over 1, 00,000 skilled solar professionals will be required, comprising multiple skill sets. But considering, upcoming state policies and private sector investment, it is estimated that around 2,00,000 such professionals will be needed. This emphasizes for imparting education in Solar technology across all academic levels and it also opens up a market of size Rs.10 crore. This presents a significant opportunity for organizations that can provide training at various levels such as system design, project management, installation, operation and maintenance. Some recent initiatives by Indian firms towards information training and support are:
- SEMI India in association with IIT Bombay has launched Solar PV Technical training programmes from August 2011. It is also planning to launch training courses on Grid connected solar power plants and systems.
- Solar Energy International conducts training programmes that are framed to explore different applications of renewable energy technologies in developing countries. Participants learn how to successfully accomplish sustainable development projects with renewable energy. Effective technology transfer methods are presented, as well as setting up infrastructure and the economics and financing of renewable energy projects. Case studies are presented on solar cooking, rural household electrification, appropriate building technologies, rural health care and micro-enterprises utilizing renewable energy.
- Barefoot College of Rajasthan is taking initiatives to train villagers and rural people to develop decentralized solar power systems. Its strategy is to develop Village Environment Energy Committee. Its qualified professionals are called Barefoot Solar Engineers. They also conduct Rural Electronic Workshops. The villagers are also paid stipends and BSEs are given an opportunity to earn their livelihood.
- MNRE, in October 2010, conducted International Training Programme on Solar Technology and Applications. The training was primarily focusing on resource assessment, technology development, economics of solar energy, test standards, test procedures, passive architecture, hands-on exposure on various solar energy devices such as SPV lighting, power plant, solar thermal systems and hybrid systems. The participants were also provided few field visits.
- Spear Technology Alliance is providing Plant Design Training using CAD/CAE to help power plant developers and EPC contractors. The course contains training in Orthographic Drawing, Isometric Drawing, pipe modeling, Logistics support, Equipment sizing, modeling, Project Engineering, HVAC operations etc. Solar Technology training module includes cell manufacturing technology, solar radiation statistics, module efficiency, energy principles, PV charge controllers, energy storage, wiring systems, Design of stand alone systems.
- Arbutus consultants along with MNRE and Karnataka Power Corporation Limited have come up with National Centre for Solar Technology Training. The training is conducted every month starting from September 2011.
National & International Education: Academic Programmes in Solar Technology
Various courses are available in the solar energy sector which include Solar energy skills Training, Solar Technology Education, Solar Tech Courses etc. As a student, these programs are designed to help both at the graduate level as well as the post graduate level. These courses would also help a business person who is looking into diversify in his area of expertise and venture into an emerging sector. Many of these career opportunities have been listed in EAI users' blog. This Blog post presents not only Indian but globally renowned academic courses that promise to bring bright days in one’s career.
Research, Design and Development
MNRE has identified some of the thrust areas in Solar technology under Solar Photovoltaic and Solar Thermal Technologies. Most of these technologies call for efficiency improvements and material used for design of system. In case of Photovoltaic Technology, thrust is on developing new and efficient materials for manufacturing cells, module efficiency and system design. Thermal technology is identified for improvements in design of solar collector/concentrator, sterling engine efficiency, obtaining higher temperatures, waste heat recycling etc. Some other R&D thrust areas identified by MNRE in solar are discussed here in detail.
MNRE has proposed to tie up with various institutions like Universities, Research institutions, R&D laboratories, industry, individual or consortium for conducting RD&D projects. The ministry has also set up Centre of Excellence for providing quality education in R&D thrust areas in solar as well as other renewable technologies. Some of the current projects initiated by MNRE in collaboration with other institutions are:
- Tools for Architectural design and simulation (TADISM): IIT Bombay
- Energy Plantation for production of biomass: NBRI Lucknow
- Design, Development and Testing of low temperature Solar Desalination System: TERI
- Performance monitoring of SEC green house: TERI
- Solar, Optical and Thermal modeling of energy flow at different nodal points of a 50kW power plant at SEC: IIT Delhi
Some other programmes and details are available under MNRE’s Initiatives.