Solar Water Heaters in India are growing at an annual growth rate of more than 15% driven by the following factors
a) Growing urbanization and buildings of new homes
b) Economic viability compared to electric heaters as electricity tariffs keep going up
c) Government support for this Green Friendly product.
Note the market for water heaters in India is around $200 million annually and solar water heaters have managed to capture more than 30% of the market showing that solar water heaters are now a part of the mainstream. Note many solar products are starting to become more mainstream as their price competitiveness increases every year. Solar Panels which are the most widely used solar product has seen the price come down by almost 80% in the last few years .
Most of the major India water heater companies like Bajaj, Tata, Racold Thermo and Venus have come out with products in this segment.
Solar Water Heater Subsidies in India
India’s JNNSM Solar Policy has set out ambitious target for Solar Water Heater Installations at 7 million square meters in 2013 and 20 million in 2020.
a) Capital Subsidy – Capital subsidy equivalent to upfront interest subsidy Rs. 1850 per sq. m. to registered institutions and Rs 1400 per sq. m. of collector area to registered commercial establishments.For housing complexes Rs. 1900/ sq. m. of collector area
b) Interest Loan Subsidy -85% of the cost of the project will be provided loans for 5 years from IREDA/Banks at 2% for domestic users,3% for institutional and 5% for commercial users (no accelerated depreciation allowed.Banks too get an incentive of 1% of the loan.31 Banks are supporting the interest subsidies.Note like for Solar Panels,NE states,hilly states and Islands get additional subsidies,in this case 0% loans.
Note MNRE gives subsidies and grants to municipal corporations,solar heater installers and banks to promote the use.
Solar Water Heater Types and Prices
There are two types of solar water heaters that are sold in India –
a) Flat Plate Collectors (FPC) based Solar Water Heaters The solar radiation is absorbed by Flat Plate Collectors which consist of an insulated outer metallic box covered on the top with glass sheet. Inside there are blackened metallic absorber (selectively coated) sheets with built in channels or riser tubes to carry water. The absorber absorbs the solar radiation and transfers the heat to the flowing water. There are 60 BIS approved manufacturers of Solar Flat Plate Collectors.
b) Evacuated Tube Collectors (ETC) based Solar Water Heaters Evacuated Tube Collector is made of double layer borosilicate glass tubes evacuated for providing insulation. The outer wall of the inner tube is coated with
selective absorbing material. This helps absorption of solar radiation and transfers the heat to the water which flows through the inner tube. There are 44 MNRE approved ETC based solar water heating suppliers.
The advent of ETC solar water heaters has been supported by the import of cheap glass tubes from China. There are 113 approved Indian producers. The largest player market share is under 15%. There is no popular solar water heater companies or brands though Tata BP Solar is known somewhat. The solar water system cost for a residence varies from Rs. 25000 to Rs. 75000, depending on technology and capacity.The standard is Rs.15000- 20,000 for a 100 litres capacity system and Rs.110-150 per installed liter for higher capacity systems