SoPro Project at a Glance


GIZ through its Indo-German Energy Programme (IGEN) undertook various measures to promote solar energy uptake in urban and industrial areas. For promoting solar thermal in industrial sector the activities included, assessing solar potential in industries, conducting workshops in industrial clusters explaining the technology and supporting potential customers through detailed project reports, among others. During the process, it was realised that the customers, in general, didn't have trust in the solar water heating system technology. This is primarily due to the lack of reliable information on how the Solar Water Heating Systems (SWHS) are working, what their costs and benefits are and how much energy and costs can be saved by using SWHS.

To fill the knowledge gap on Solar Water Heating Systems for industrial applications, SoPro India project is initiated. SoPro India project is under the framework of Commercialisation of Solar Energy in Urban and Industrial areas (ComSolar) project which is supported by German Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and in cooperation with Indian Ministry of New and renewable Energy (MNRE).

It is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in consultation with Fraunhofer Institute of Solar Energy Systems (ISE), Germany and APITCO, India.

Key Activities

Step 1) Identifying SWHS installed in industries

SoPro India started with the preparation of a list of SWHS installed in industries across the country. The idea is to bring basic information in public domain on the existing systems installed in various categories of industries – food processing, chemical, textile and automobile among others. The information is on capacity, system design, integration, approximate gain in water temperature, energy substituted and costs among other. The leading system integrators and/or manufactures – in terms of number of system installed – were contacted and information sought on the system installed by them in various industries. The selection criteria is set as system sizes above 5000 liters per day (LPD).

The compiled list of 28 such SWHS in the industry is shown here    

Step 2) Preparing case studies

From the list, 15 SWHS systems were selected based on the industry system owner willingness to support the project activity and share their experience and information.
Following information was collected:

  1. General information – about the company, heat demanding processes, conventional heat source and motivation to use the system
  2. Technical description – collector type & area, year of installation, hydraulic schema
  3. Energy Balance – heat demand, geographical coordinates of the site
  4. Economy – costs and rebates
  5. Experiences – personal experience of user

The questions can be seen here    

The aim of the case studies is to inform about the SWHS system concept by describing the design and integration into the processes and estimate roughly the system performance.

Step 3) Scientific monitoring of SWHS

Form the case studies, two systems were chosen for monitoring based on the below listed key criteria:

  1. Geographical spread of installation
  2. Different manufacturers
  3. Type of industry sectors involved
  4. Size of collector areas   the middle range of sizes was chosen since the costs for the heat meter is increasing with increasing diameter of tubes.
  5. Type of collector (FPC/ETC)
  6. The level of cooperation extended both from manufacture and system owner

Following two systems were monitored for one year to have performance data throughout the year accounting for seasonal changes:

  1. Synthokem Labs, Hyderabad, Telangana and
  2. Himachal Dairy, Rampur, Himachal Pradesh.

Step 4) Marketing portal

To raise awareness amongst the potential customer, manufactures and existing owner of SWHS, this website was created to provide the information beyond the project period.

The website presents, first and foremost, monitoring results, which proof scientifically that the SWHS works economically by providing data on fuel, cost and greenhouse gas emission savings.

Second, information on how the case study SWHS are designed and a first level of techno-economic analysis is presented.

Finally, basic information on SWHS is provided with some insights on how to design, operate and monitor the systems to have most out of the investment.