Using solar technology to meet the energy needs of a growing population while promoting low carbon development

The region

India has a population of more than 1.25 billion – a number which is rapidly growing and becoming increasingly urban. Subsequently, household energy needs for cooking, lighting and water heating are accelerating. Solar water heating units not only displace electricity which is primarily drawn from a fossil-fuel dominated grid, but can also help reduce peak load demand and the associated blackouts from a shortage of grid supply. In a country with abundant solar resources, solar water heaters allow for on-demand access to hot water even when there are power cuts, making the technology more reliable than the conventional use of electric systems.

The project

The project uses a range of channels to distribute the solar water heaters, primarily private entrepreneurs or larger entities that act as solar water heater dealers and franchise sub-dealers. Some units are also sold directly to customers, and in some instances, partnerships with city, state and regional governments are also used for distribution. The project developer conducts awareness programmes in schools and general public exhibitions to help increase uptake of its solar products.

So far the project has largely been focused in Bangalore, Karnataka which makes up approximately 50% of the installations. However, the technology is applicable throughout the country and the first monitoring period included implementation in a range of other states, including Maharashtra, Andra Pradesh, Delhi, Goa, Gujurat, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The project will continue to have a focus on the domestic household segment going forward, specifically smaller apartments and flats that have historically been underserved by the industry. Outside the domestic market, educational, religious and charitable institutions will continue to be targeted. The solar units installed in educational institutions tend to serve dormitories on residential campuses.

Further details on alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

In addition to delivering approximately 120,000 tonnes of emissions reductions annually to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13), the project delivers a number of other sustainable development benefits, including: