Organised by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the United Nation Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Indo-German Development Cooperation (GIZ), the seminar aimed to raise awareness about the long-term and multiple benefits of solar water heaters (SWH) across India including West Bengal.
Minister of State for Sunderban Affairs and Irrigation and Waterways, West Bengal, Manturam Pakhira revealed the state government's resolve to popularize solar power, which he said would transform the power scenario in the state, especially in remote areas such as the Sunderbans.
West Bengal Minister for Water Resources Investigation and Development, S K Mahapatro admitted that West Bengal's progress in the domain of the solar is relatively sluggish compared ti other parts of the country.
However, the minister exuded optimism that very soon the State will grab a place among the front-runners such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.
Earlier, during a presentation, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Tarun Kapoor said solar energy is the most potent and sustainable solution to India's per capita power needs.
"It is the easiest to install, the price of electricity is nil and the maintenance cost virtually non-existent. That is why renewable energy is fast growing in popularity in India. We have done very well in wind energy - India is number 5 in the world. Now, we need to step up our efforts to make a mark in solar power, too," Kapoor said.
Kapoor also presented a report card on solar power in which West Bengal ranks low. "It is time the State made concerted efforts to popularize solar power. Let people know about the multiple benefits of solar power, and also the government subsidies on offer."
Vice-Chancellor, Bengal Engineering and Science University (BESU), Professor Ajoy Kumar Roy said tapping renewable energy sources such as solar is of paramount importance at a time when ozone layer is being depleted, and as a result, chances of lethal diseases such as cancer are increasing.
"The sun is the source of light and heat. Proper and efficient utilization of the light and heat spectrum is the imperative," Roy said.
He also disclosed that WBREDA in association with BESU will set up a centre of excellence and an R and D centre on solar power very soon.
Also present at the inaugural session were Director, WBREG, Susobhan Bhattacharya; Principal Secretary (Power), West Bengal, Moloy Kumar Dey; Director, MNRE, Veena Sinha; Past Chairman, CII Eastern Region and Chairman, Flakt India Ltd., Aloke Mookherjea and Managing Director, Vikram Solar Ltd., Gyanesh Chaudhury; National Expert, S P Gonchoudhoury and Regional Director, CII Eastern Region, Saugat Mukherjee among others.
There were technical sessions on available technologies in Solar Water Heating Systems and Municipal Law and Policies for the implementation of Solar Water Heating Systems and also experts and entrepreneurs telling success stories and sharing international experiences.
Aloke Mookherjea chaired one of the technical sessions.
--IBNS (Posted on 14-05-2013)