Project Findings – Recommendations
The SoPro India project helps to increase the trust in SWHS by presenting data on its economic benefits. It supports the understanding of the challenges in technology, design, operation and maintenance of the SWHS as well as the necessity to monitor the system performance. Therefore, SoPro India is a starting point for developing a robust and sustainable SWHS market.
The project results address the key barriers currently impeding the large scale diffusion of SWHS technology:
- Trust on the SWHS system performance is increased by providing reliable system performance information based on scientific monitoring.
- Design principles and operation modes are discussed of the two monitored systems to show the challenges of SWHS designs.
- A first concept for simple, robust and low cost monitoring system, which is suited for the Indian solar heating market, is provided.
- Information on SWHS applications in different parts of India are presented on the website.
Outcomes of the SoPro monitoring
The general outcomes by monitoring the two SHIP systems within the SoPro India project are:
- The design of typical Indian and European solar thermal systems differs a lot, which influences the solar yield, type of operation and type of monitoring systems (e.g. Indian systems are often non-pressurized systems). To compare the different approaches could help to improve the SWHS technology in India, however, the differences must be understood and taken into account.
- There is great room for improvements in the design of Indian solar thermal systems to increase the system performance and improve the reliability of the systems. This is related to the design principles as well as to the available tools for system design (computer programs).
- The Indian SWHS systems are often operated manually, which must not be bad, however the risk of a lower performance due to operation mistakes is there.
- Usually SWHS owners and operators don't know the indicators which show, if the system is working well. Also there is often a lack of understanding, how the system is working (e.g. a hot collector shows that the collector is working, however, if the collector circuit is not running, the solar energy is not delivered to the point of demand and is not reducing fuel consumption). Solutions should be developed to provide the owner and operator with basic information on the SWHS system.
- Scientific monitoring within scientific projects is necessary to understand in detail how solar thermal systems are working in practice, to have reliable data on system performance and to enable the scientific sector to contribute to further improvements of solar thermal systems.
- The development of simple, cheap and robust simplified monitoring system is necessary as well to enable system owners and operators to check, if their solar thermal system is working well or not. Such a system could be integrated in the controller. There is further research necessary to identify such a solution.
- Recommendations on principles of solar thermal system design and on appropriate monitoring solutions based on categories of typical solar thermal systems solutions developed for these categories should be developed for the Indian market.
Recommendations for next steps
Development of design guidelines for typical SWHS installations for industries
To improve the design of Indian SWHS and provide practical support to manufacturers and planners, a design guidelines for typical SWHS for industries should be developed.
Development of planning software for Indian SWHS
SWHS planning software, which optimizes the design of SWHS and provides information on the solar energy output and fuel savings is available in mature solar markets and helps the manufacturers and planners to improve the design and the customers to assess the SWHS. An adapted planning software for Indian SWHS should be developed for the typical system design and framework conditions.
Development of a cheap and robust monitoring system for Indian SWHS
Such a system should be developed by the manufacturers and the scientific sector based on the results and recommendations of the SoPro India project. MNRE should moderate and support such a development and could, after the reliability of simple monitoring solution is proven, force the implementation in newly installed SWHS.
Extension of scientific monitoring of SWHS in India
Scientific monitoring helps to develop a deeper understanding of the technological challenges of SWHS, which is the basis for further improvements. Since only two SWHS were monitored within the SoPro India project, it is recommended to monitor other types of systems in other industries and other parts of India as well to be able to generalize the results of the SoPro India project.