Solar savings in process industries with no upfront costs

It has been estimated that as much as 7% of all industrial energy is consumed by process heating - the heat needed to produce basic materials and commodities – in order to achieve the high temperatures that are vital to nearly all manufacturing processes. That’s almost 30 per cent of the total industrial process heat demand.
 
One company in India has risen to the challenge of finding a way for renewable energy fill this gap, without compromising the manufacturers who provide the jobs and the commodities upon which we rely?
 
Aspiration Energy Pvt Ltd, a solar energy services company based in Chennai, were determined to come up with a solution, and their determination paid off when they were named as one of five WWF Climate Solvers who were awarded in New Delhi, India on Friday August 1.
 
“Traditionally, industries use electricity, high speed diesel or furnace oil to achieve process heat temperatures ranging from 70 to 1200 company. “Besides being expensive, reliance on fossil fuels leads to emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. We developed a way to meet low and mid temperature process heat demand through decentralised energy generation based on a solar thermal system.”
 
Solar collectors normally heat up to about 70 0C. Aspiration’s innovations in fluid pressure, as well as system and module design have been able to achieve temperatures of up to 1200C. An added benefit is that, unlike most solar thermal systems which need to be placed on concrete roofs or on the ground, Aspiration’s Evacuated Tube Collectors (ETCs) based solar thermal system can be mounted in unused space between factory roof trusses.
 
Aspiration has also come up with an innovative business model to make it easier for industries with space and financial limitations to switch to a green solution. Its unique business model is based on a monthly performance-based scale where the client pays for the technology ranging between 50 - 75% of their monthly savings created by the use of the solar system.
 
The savings are not limited to the pocket. The estimated avoided global GHG emissions through wide scale utilisation of this system in industrial sector is likely to be 26 million tons by 2023.
The estimated avoided global GHG emissions through wide scale utilisation of this system in industrial sector is likely to be 26 million tons by 2023.
What constitutes your major barrier for even faster growth in the future? Think of potential decisions by multinational companies, Government or Investors that could help in enabling your growth ambitions.
 
We are proposing solar – thermal systems to the industry that have the lowest capital cost per MW, lowest pay back periods due to fuel savings and risk free monthly payment models, with three proven installations were the practicality and viability can be demonstrated. A chance to invest in energy security where an industry can enjoy energy at Rs 1 per KWH (maintenance cost) for 15-20 years, by using the fuel savings to pay for the asset in the first few years is so attractive, that we should have been flooded with orders.
 
In spite of this we have reached here after giving 100+ proposals.  Customers give priority to investments and decisions that add capacity or market share to their business. Investments and decisions in sustainability and carbon abatement take a secondary place. We believe this “attitude” is a key obstacle, in realising our vision.
 
Global Investors (by offering funds at lower interest rates), can improve the attractiveness of our performance linked monthly payment (PAYS) model.  Multi-national companies / agencies in the creative / communication space, can help us evangelise and motivate people to give priority to our proposals.
 
The Government can introduce statutory obligations on the manufacturing sector to replace atleast a certain percentage of fossil fuel used in heating applications with Solar – Thermal. 
 
This is feasible and implementable without government subsidy  because it has been proved that the asset pays for itself from savings within the first few years, even when funded with commercial finance.