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New GEF-UNDP Project on Solar Technology starts in India

New Delhi, August 8, 2012 - During the past May, on a day that recorded an outside temperature of 41 degrees Celsius, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India (MNRE), launched a GEF-financed renewable energy power project designed to tap India’s vast solar energy potential

In a crowded room of close to 100 members of academia, the private sector, the NGO community, the United Nations and others, UNDP and MNRE launched “Market Development and Promotion of Solar Concentrator based Process Heat Applications”, a project that aims to increase the use of concentrating solar heat (CSH) technology systems to meet India’s rising industrial energy and heating needs.

India’s industrial sector, including industries such as pharmaceuticals, chemicals, metal treatment, textile, food and dairy industries, constitutes India’s second largest energy-consuming sector next to the residential sector.  Much of industry’s low-medium temperature heat requirements are currently met by fuel oil, coal and biomass with low-cost natural gas not widely available in India.  Low-medium temperature process heat is also needed for the commercial sector such as hotels, hospitals and other buildings for cooling, heating and cooking.

With India having close to 5-7 kWh/m2/ day of solar energy potential, the project aims to strengthen capacities and remove market and financial barriers to promote the use of CSH technologies.  Use of CSH technologies has the potential to significantly reduce CO2 emissions, save fuel, improve local air quality, and contribute to India’s energy independence.

“This project will complement MNRE in its efforts to promote the use of CSH technologies in small and medium industrial units. By expanding the application of renewables to new sectors and strengthening the financial viability of these small-medium units, it will support these engines of growth that are crucial for the Indian economy,” Said Caitlin Wiesen, Country Director, UNDP India . Ms. Wiesen also commented on the potential of CSH technologies to replace generators, particularly in off-grid communities. 

Mr. Gireesh Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of MNRE, who officially launched the project agrees, indicating that off-grid application of renewables is where a “crucial difference will be made.” 

In addition, Mr. Pradhan presented a new website on solar water heaters (, developed as part of another GEF-funded project, ‘Solar Water Heating Market Transformation and Strengthening Initiative.”  The website will raise awareness of the benefits and potential of solar-powered water heating systems in India and provide a platform for exchange.

     Gireesh Pradhan, Secretary, Ministry of MNRE launches the UNDP-supported, GEF-funded project               “Market Development and Promotion of Solar Concentrator based Process Heat Applications"


In line with the ‘International Year of Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative, led by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and for which Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Honorable Minister of New and Renewable Energy, sits on the high level Committee, the India CSH project is expected to increase annual CSH sales to 15,000 square meters per year by 2016.

The project aims to do this by enhancing technical capacity development and providing support for three additional CSH technologies; increasing awareness and strengthening technical capacities of manufacturers, installers and CSH users; supporting 30 CSH demonstration projects and at least 60 replication projects; and addressing financial barriers such as low payback on CSH investments and lack of performance-based incentives.

At project closure, direct emission reductions of 39,200 tonnes of CO2 are expected, and over the life time of the project (approx. 20 years) it is expected that  315,000 tonnes of Co2emissions will be avoided further contributing towards global environmental benefits.  The project also expects to save 3.15 million liters of fuel oil per year.

 “Market Development and Promotion of Solar Concentrator based Process Heat Applications” is being funded by a grant from the Global Environmental Facility in the amount of USD $4.4 million USD, along with significant co-financing from the MNRE, industries and financial institutions, for a total project budget of $23,750,000.The project will run from 2012 to 2017.


About UNDP

UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. With offices in more than 170 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations.  and

About the GEF

The GEF unites 182 countries in partnership with international institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the private sector to address global environmental issues while supporting national sustainable development initiatives. Today the GEF is the largest public funder of projects to improve the global environment.  An independently operating financial organization, the GEF provides grants for projects related to biodiversity, climate change, international waters, land degradation, the ozone layer and persistent organic pollutants.  Since 1991, GEF has achieved a strong track record with developing countries and countries with economies in transition, providing $9.2 billion in grants and leveraging $40 billion in co-financing for over 2,700 projects in over 168 countries.

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