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Maharishi Solar, a part of the Maharishi Group, has tied up with Abengoa to supply Indian industries with solar thermal technology for their heating purposes

Abengoa Solar is a global leader in solar thermal tech.

In India (as well as almost elsewhere in the world), the use of solar thermal tech has lagged that of solar PV, in terms of large-scale installations. In fact, there’s more to solar thermal than meets the eye, for the following reason: Solar PV is used only for electricity generation, while solar thermal is used for both heat and electricity generation. And here lies the point: The contribution of solar thermal, if one were to take into account the use of solar thermal for small-scale applications in home solar water heaters and small-scale industrial heating and drying, is much more than solar PV in terms of MW power equivalent. Some studies say that the MW(power equivalent) of all solar thermal applications is about 80 GW, compared to about 12 GW of installed power for solar PV (2009 data). However, when the installed base of solar PV is compared to that for solar thermal for electricity generation alone, the picture is dramatically different – 12 GW for solar PV vs 0.5 GW for solar thermal.

The earlier notes however indicate the enormous potential for solar thermal – if not for electricity, at least for water heating and drying – in large and small applications.

In India, solar thermal use has been quite widespread primarily in terms of its use in solar water heating, and that too primarily at household and small-scale industry levels (a few medium scale installations have been there for solar water heating in India, but not too many).

Let’s hope that ventures such as the one by Maharishi Solar takes solar thermal to its rightful position as a renewable energy source

Just in case you are interested in knowing how to tap solar power for your home or factory, visit Solar Mango that provides comprehensive details on how to use solar for decentralised power generation from rooftops. You can also get details on the various components and technologies that go into making a solar PV power system