The Solar India Project

Posted on April 22, 2010



Have you ever run into information dead-end on the web while researching certain ‘green’ topics or sustainable initiatives in India? I know it is limiting to just stick with the WWW but it’s the first place we tend to look, especially if you are living outside of India. Most times, I find bits and pieces of information that are hard to glue together and also missing crucial sections needed to complete the puzzle.

Solar applications in India:

Recently, I’ve been researching solar thermal / solar hot water (SHW) and the photovoltaic (PV) scene in India. I’ve been looking for installed capacity, generation, costs, incentives available, and barriers to adoption. What I’ve found are pieces of information like lists of manufacturers/ installers (not many have websites), news articles and a few technical reports, but no comprehensive source of information. This led me to wonder what I could do to remedy this situation.

The proposal:

My idea is to create PV and SHW maps for India. These maps will show an array of information based on location ranging from installed capacities to incentives available to solar insolation. These maps will also allow us to chart current and future trends while identifying underserved or booming states and building sectors. The maps will be interactive and users will be able to select a particular installed system and read about the project profile. The idea is to roll out SHW maps in the first phase and then move on to PV maps in the second phase. These maps will be tied to a database containing the following information:

  • Address
  • Building type:  residential, institutional, commercial etc.
  • Available solar insolation
  • Installed capacity
  • Type of collector
  • Size of the system
  • Cost (before incentives)
  • Date installed
  • Installer information
  • Manufacturer information
  • Availed incentives/subsidies (incl. bank loans)

Additionally, ‘Incentive maps’ will be created, these maps, as the name suggests, show incentives/subsidies by city and state. Selecting a state would list all the incentives/rebates, loans offered for solar applications.


  • Microsoft Access for the database creation
  • Geographical Information System (GIS) for the mapping part

Data sources:

  • Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE)
  • Solar Thermal Federation of India (STFI)
  • GRIHA India
  • Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE)
  • PV and SHW  installers, manufacturers and dealers in India

Data submission and validation:

The community can submit data through a web-based form. Duplication and validation are two most critical steps in creating a good database. Here is one way of doing it. If you have any ideas of how this can be dealt with, please get in touch with me.


Interested in working on this project? Leave a comment and I will get in touch you.

Pallavi Mantha