India: Cross Checking the Size of the Solar Thermal Market

The solar thermal market in India could do better than it has done so far. Everybody agrees on that, but the size of the annual market remains unclear. For example, you will find reliable sources for the year 2007 that talk about 256,000 m2, an equivalent of 180 MWth (Solar Heat Worldwide 2008), or about 650,000 m2, an equivalent of 455 MWth (Study of the Swiss bank Sarasin). The truth lies probably in the middle.

Jaideep Malaviya, member of the editorial team of and based in Pune, India, was not satisfied with the current vagueness of numbers. He began to question the suppliers of flat plate collector manufacturers – the glass suppliers, as well as the coating suppliers – directly about the quantities they sold in the Indian fiscal year April 2008 to March 2009.

It can be assumed that the still dominating flat plate collector market imports hardly any glass and purchases only a small number of of coated absorber sheets in Europe, far below 10,000 m2. As explained in the text "Absorber coating: a rising Industry in India", the flat plate collector manufacturers rather use the nationally developed Nalsun technology.

Numbers of 320,000 m2 in annually sold coating material and 330,000 m2 in shipped solar glass are therefore a closer estimate of the flat plate collector market size in India (see also table below). If you also consider the share of vacuum tubes to be 15 %, the total market in 2008 could have been around 400,000 m2.

Among the glass manufacturers, only Emmvee possesses a product line dedicated to flat plate collectors, while all other glass manufacturers are mainly producing for either the construction or the automotive industry. The share of their “solar” business is between 1 % to 5 %. Hence, meeting future growing demand will not be an issue as far as glass is concerned.

Glass manufacturers usually follow the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) standard when producing tempered glasses for collectors. The toughened glass possesses a transmittance value of 83 % and is 4 mm thick. Not many collector manufacturers, however, are using textured glass at present.

This text was written by Jaideep Malaviya, an Indian journalist and solar thermal expert. 


Name of the Company, City Starting year Type of glass Trans-mittance Thick-ness Produced m2 in 2008-09 Planned production m2/a in 2009-10 Website
Impact Safety Glass Works Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore 1988 normal 85 % 4 mm 120,000 150,000
Emmvee Toughened Glass Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore* n/a normal 85 % 4 mm 103,229 185,000 
Hindustan Glass Works Ltd., Allahabad n/a one sided patterned glass/float glass < 91 % /  <85 % 3.2mm / 4 mm 40,000 70,000
Veeral eSafety Glass Pvt. Ltd., Pune 2006 normal / low-iron < 86 % 4 mm 20,000 30,000 
AIS Glassolution Ltd., New Delhi** n/a normal 87 % 4 mm 20,000 80,000
Hari Om Tempanes, Daman 2005 normal 83 % 4 mm 14,000 25,000  (0091/(0)260 /2220203
Gold Plus Himachal Safety Glass Ltd., New Delhi 2000 normal 82 %  4 mm 10,000 50,000 
FG Glass Industries. Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai n/a normal / low-iron 90.2 % 3.2 mm 2,500 18,000 
Total shipped quantity     329,729 608,000  

Table: Leading producers of toughened glass for the solar thermal industry in India in 2008
*Not yet BIS approved** Borosilicate glass 



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