21 November 2023

Australian solar tech powers India’s net zero transition

Australian renewable energy company, Sunrise CSP, is finding economic opportunities powering India’s transition to net zero.

In 2018, the Canberra-based solar thermal power company first commercialised its technology – the Big Dish – in a project to provide sustainable energy solutions for India’s top-rated Kailash Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Gujarat.

Using mirrors to convert solar energy into high-temperature heat

Sunrise CSP’s Big Dish technology was developed with researchers at ANU. It generates electric power by using mirrors to concentrate energy from the sun and convert it into high-temperature heat.

This heat – or thermal energy – is used by the Gujarat hospital’s laundry, kitchen and sterilisation operations. It is also used to run a special type of thermal chiller system to provide space cooling for the entire hospital complex.

The technology can be used for various applications such as the large-scale heating and cooling needs of factories, commercial buildings and hospitals. It is even being considered to cool an entire city centre from a single solar thermal Big Dish plant in one of India’s new Smart City developments.

It can also be used to deliver the heat required to produce vital chemicals like hydrogen and ammonia, and national-scale power generation solutions.

A large parabolic dish of solar reflectors


Scaling the Big Dish technology in energy projects across India

In August 2023, Sunrise CSP signed a deal with Engineers India Ltd (EIL). The deal sets up the company as a partner of choice for the large engineering and project management firm. EIL is planning to scale up solar thermal power in its energy projects across the region.

‘We successfully showed our Big Dish technology can be set up and adapted to the needs of the Indian market in our hospital project in Gujarat,’ says Zawadski. ‘We are now excited to sign an MoU with EIL who will help us scale up the technology and services across the country.’

EIL Chief Managing Director Vartika Shukla says the 2 companies share a vision to drive positive environmental impacts through innovative technological solutions.

‘Concentrated solar power technology has wide applications and could also be integrated with the existing industrial facilities and process plants. We are poised to leave a lasting imprint towards transforming the global energy landscape in years to come,’ she says.

Australian companies offer a range of innovative technologies for Indian companies in the renewable energy space, says Austrade Head of South Asia and Senior Trade and Investment Commissioner Catherine Gallagher.

‘There is growing opportunity for Australian companies to be part of India’s growing net zero needs. Collaborations like Sunrise CSP and EIL not only bring together the expertise of Australian and Indian companies but also contribute to the growth of the renewable energy sector and the overall development of both countries,’ Gallagher says.