New Initiatives

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Details of the major Solar Thermal Projects / PV Systems & components recently undertaken at Solar Energy Centre (SEC)

National Solar Thermal Power Testing, Research and Simulation Facility

The facility envisages a grid connected Solar Thermal Power Plant of 1 MW capacity.  This will also include a test set up that enables companies and research institutions to test the performance of different solar concentrators, coatings and materials, components and system for a Solar Thermal Power Plant.  The project is being implemented by IIT Mumbai and a consortium partners consisting of Tata Power, Tata Consulting Engineers, Larsen & Toubro, Clique, KIE Solatherm.

Concentrated Solar Thermal Energy Technology based on Parabolic Dish collectors

The project is a cooperative effort between Megawatt Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and SEC under MNRE’s initiative to promote research, development and demonstration of indigenously developed renewable energy systems and technologies under a cost-sharing basis.  It involves demonstration and evaluation of 4 interconnected dish concentrators each of 90m2 aperture area providing heated thermic fluids upto 4000C.

Solar Thermal Stirling Engine

The project has been taken up in collaboration with ONGC Energy Centre (OEC).  Three units of engines of 3 kW capacity each have been installed and commissioned in the campus.  The objective of the project is to carryout long term performance evaluation under Indian conditions.  The engines have been connected to the local grid and the electricity produced during the sunshine hours is being utilized in the Technical Block.  The rated output of the facility is 9 kW (peak power) at solar insulation of 850 W/m2 at 200C ambient temperature.

Development of a Modular Central Receiver Concentrated Solar Power Plant for Decentralized Power Generation

SunBorne Energy with support from MNRE will be setting up a 1 MWTh CSP Central Tower pilot facility in partnership with SEC.  The main objective is to develop the optimized designs of the heliostat field, volumetric air receiver and thermal storage, the three major components of a Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) Central Receiver plant and also to develop the local sources for all the key components of the plant with a focus on lowering costs.

High Efficiency Solar Thermal Air-conditioning Systems – a collaborative project of Thermax Limited and solar Energy Centre

The project (100 KW cooling capacity) is being implemented by M/s Thermax Limited at Solar Energy Centre with an objective to integrate solar collectors, vapor absorption machine (VAM) and appropriate thermal storage system to achieve consistence performance of the system with coefficient of performance (COP) (1 : 1.7)

Cold Storage with Solar – Biomass Hybrid System 

It is an APP project in partnership with TERI, Thermax Limited, SEC and CSIRO Australia with an objective to develop cold storage particularly in rural areas utilizing exhaust heat of biomass gasifier engine/solar schffler dish.

Solar cell characterization laboratory

Solar Cell Characterization laboratory has a class AAA solar simulator based Solar Cell Tester of M/s ORIEL, USA make to study solar cell performance under standard Test Conditions (STC) or other user selected conditions. The conitinuous type solar simulator, in which illumination is continuous in time, is certified to IEC 60904-9:2007 Edition, JIS C 8912 and ASTM E 927-05 standards.

At present, Solar cell testing facility at SEC is capable of testing solar cells ( Only mono/multi crystalline  Silicon Solar Cells with /having extended ribbons) up to 6 inch X 6 inch area as per IEC 60904-1:2006 /IS 12762 (Part 1):2010 standards.

The technical and performance specifications of the Class AAA sun simulator are tabled below:

Model Lamp power (Watts) Output beam Collimation
Inches  Millimeters Working Distance
SP1000-4966 1600 W 12 X 12 305 X 305 12.00” ± 0.5” <±1O




Table:1 Technical Specifications of Class AAA sun simulator

ParametersStandard IEC 60904-9-ED2Class A JISClass A ASTMClass A
Spectral Match 0.75 - 1.25%Fraction of ideal percentage 0.75 – 1.25%Fraction of ideal percentage 0.75 – 1.25%Fraction of ideal percentage
Non uniformity of irradiance <2.0% ±2% 2%
Temporal instability <0.5% short term instability (STI)<2.0% Long term instability (LTI) ±1% ±2%

Table:2 Performance specifications of Class AAA Sun Simulator

Spectral Response Measurement System (to estimate collector efficiency), Electroluminescence (EL) and Infrared (IR) facilities are being added.