Solar Energy Centre (Figure - 01) is the institute established in India with a view to encourage research in the field of solar technology as a viable alternate energy system. It is located at the 19th milestone on the Gurgaon-Faridabad road in Haryana state of India, and is established on a gently sloping site covering about 200 acres in a suburban setting, where climate is hot and dry with summer temperatures reaching as high as 47 degrees C. Its aspect of related with solar energy can be very well observed from its building design.



EarthToys Renewable Energy Article
Solar Energy Centre (Figure - 01) is the institute established in India with a view to encourage research in the field of solar technology as a viable alternate energy system. It is located at the 19th milestone on the Gurgaon-Faridabad road in Haryana state of India, and is established on a gently sloping site covering about 200 acres in a suburban setting, where climate is hot and dry with summer temperatures reaching as high as 47 degrees C. Its aspect of related with solar energy can be very well observed from its building design.

By D.V.Singh

The major concern in the region, where it is located, with respect to building design is summer cooling, and similarly warmness in winter as winters are also quite harsh requiring heating during the winter months. Its building is designed taking into account principles of passive solar design to reduce energy consumption in the building, which is achieved by reducing heat gain in summer, encouraging effective ventilation, natural cooling and effective insulation to prevent heat loss during the winter, thus reducing both heating and cooling costs. A solar evaporative cooling system has also being established for a part of the technical blocks of the Solar Energy Centre, which helps to maintain a lowering of temperature by 2-3ºC in comparison with rooms without RSEC system.

A number of technology demonstration projects have been established by the centre, which includes a 46 KW solar PV power project at the Centre. The Centre is enriched with most advanced facilities and playing a crucial role in development and promotion of solar energy technologies. The center serves as an effective interface between the Government and institutions, industry & user organizations for development, promotion and widespread utilization of solar energy in the country. The Energy conscious features of the SEC are:

Figure 1

- Roof surface evaporative cooling system
- Appropriate planning in which laboratories requiring air conditioning are put
   together in a well-insulated building
- Hollow concrete block walls to resist heat gain by conduction
- Reflective finish on roof surface
- Windows designed for cross ventilation and day lighting. The east and west facing
   windows incorporate openable louvered shutters.

The objective of SEC is to develop solar energy technologies and promote its applications through product development. The SEC is tendering activities under different scopes of Solar Energy. Its major activities are governed under following heads;


Solar Resource Assessment  (Figure -02)

In order to access solar resources and to measure various weather parameters, such as, ambient temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, rain fall; An Automatic Weather Station is installed at SEC campus, to maintain records of solar radiation data, such as, global radiation, soil temperature etc., where the data obtained from weather station is directly displayed on the display board installed in the campus and also directly downloaded on a computer for every 15 minutes interval, which is then reflected in a book on Solar Radiation – an unlimited energy resource.

Solar Thermal (Figure – 03 of Sun Simulator for indoor testing of flat plate, collector)

The SEC is equipped with Solar Thermal facilities for evaluation of solar water heating systems, solar cookers and other solar thermal devices, and has Indoor – outdoor test facility for solar collectors with a large area sun simulator. It is having facilities for Development and updation of Indian Standards for solar thermal systems and components for BIS. The SEC is engaged in R&D activity related to development of solar thermal systems and design software in association with premier Institutions of the country.

Solar Photovoltaics

There is well equipped laboratory with testing devices to perform Characterization of solar cells for measurement of Voc, Isc, Imp, Vmp, FF, Rs, Rsh, Cell efficiency and diode ideality factor under standard and different test conditions as per BIS: IS-12762 (Pt 1), IEC: 60904-1. It has devices to perform Spectral response measurement for calculation of quantum efficiency, collection efficiency and spectral mismatch factor as per IEC: 60904-8/ BIS: IS-12762 (Pt 3).

The SEC has facility for module testing to conclude Performance evaluation of PV modules under standard/different test conditions as per IEC: 61853, IEC: 60904-1/ BIS: IS-12762 (Pt 1) & for Qualification testing of PV modules as per the Standards: IEC 61215, IEEE Std 1262-1995, BIS14286: 1995

It is equipped with devices for Testing of lighting systems that can be used for Testing of PV lighting systems , such as street lighting, home lighting and solar lanterns (portable lights) for electronic efficiency, charge efficiency, light output (lumen & Lux), reliability, protections, and temperature compensation. It also has facility for PV Pump Testing (IEC – 62253, / IEC – 61702) i.e Test rig for testing of PV water pumps both submersible and surface type for system efficiency -(i) performance with variable suction head 1-7m and delivery head upto 100m (ii) water throughput, losses in power due to mismatch, ca. It is also equipped with PV Refrigerators Testing for testing of PV refrigerators as per WHO Specifications

The SEC also provides training on PV system design and have established a design laboratory with software viz. PVSYST and WATSUNPV, RET Screen, to impart Training for designing.

Solar Energy Materials

The SEC is equipped with facilities involved in material testing for characterization of optical and mechanical properties of solar energy materials, such as, Perkin-Elmer 883, Infrared Spectrophotometer, range 4000cm-1 to 200cm-1, Universal Testing Machine, Model 43002 used for tension and compression testing in the range upto 10kN, Atlas Ci 35A Weather-O-Meter for accelerated testing of materials having temperature range upto 100° C, humidity 10% to 80%, irradiance 3500-6500 Watt and water spray facility.

Solar Thermal Power Generation (Figure -04)

The SEC has maintained a 50 KW prototype level solar thermal power plant, utilising parabolic trough collectors, to serve as an educational, R&D and training facility. It has facility for Indigenisation & standardization of various components used for solar thermal power generation.

Bio-Fuel (PHOTO – 05 & 06)

The SEC has widen its scope of activities to develop Bio fuels. Accordingly SEC has worked for Plantation of non-edible oil bearing species mainly Jatropha Curcas and Pongania Pinnata. A plantation of, 26000 saplings of Jatropha carcass has been made of 05 different types of germplasms collected from different agro-climatic regions of India i.e. Dessert region (Rajasthan),), Indo-gangatic planes (U.P.), Hilly region (Uttarakhand) and two other regions namely Karnataka and Haryana. Pongamia Pinnata’s sampling of 500 breeds have been planted. Identification of 80 reference plants have been made based on their growth performance including other parameters. Research experiments for spacing, irrigation, bio-fertiliser,  nutrient, under story, pruning and VAM treatment are under progress at 23 research plots having 16 Jatropha saplings in each plot. Development of a Jatropha nursery has been made after carrying out silviculture operations. The SEC is making efforts for Developing and standardization of cultivation techniques for the related species, and, for Selection of improved germplasm  material for quality and quantity of oil. A research plot having 70 plants composed with 7 different germplasms i.e 10 plants of each germplasm, are under progress to evaluate the growth performance for selecting the best germplasm. Total Physio-chemical analysis, is carried at SEC, of all potential non-edible oils with special reference to Jatropha Curcas and Pongania Pinnata. Studies are carried at SEC for Developing and standardization of parameters for esterification plants of different capacities. The Testing of Bio-diesel from various feed stocks with special reference to Jatropha Curcas and Pongania Pinnata and generation of comparative data on fuel characteristics is performed at the SEC, paying  attention for making Utilisation of by-products.


In addition to the existing user oriented services of Type Testing, Certification, etc. the SEC offers a comprehensive set of services provideing full technical assistance to users, right from the stage of initial conceptualization, which includes; Technology assessment report, both at national as well as at international levels, Identification of application based renewable energy potential, Preparation of Feasibility Reports, Integration of solar and conventional systems, Financial & cost benefit analysis, Assessment of improvement in environment, Operation, performance monitoring and maintenance protocols, Diagnostic studies for performance improvements of existing systems.

International Co-operation

The S.E.Centre is designated as the Secretariat for G-15 Project on solar energy applications, and it organizes various Training programmes and performs information dissemination activities among the member countries. The Centre, in a village in Senegal, implemented installation of a solar lighting system for pilot project. The SEC contributes to maintain Technical links with International Organizations/ Institutions engaged in similar activities as that of the Centre.

Training & Information Services

The SCE maintains a big library and imparts training on Renewable Energy Education and organizes training programmes on solar energy, and simultaneously brings out technical brochures on solar energy technologies. The SEC arranges for Theoretical & Practical Training facility on PV System Design and  Operation &Maintenance of PV Systems are available, whereas Short term training courses on PV System Design and  Operation &Maintenance of PV Systems are conducted regularly.

The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag

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