Wednesday, April 11, 2012

SEMI India re-iterates its commitment to skill development for solar industry

BANGALORE, INDIA: SEMI India, the Indian arm of the global industry organization, SEMI, launched a solar PV work force development initiative, with a three day short-term course on “Off-grid Solar PV Components and Systems” at the India Habitat Center in New Delhi.

‘Skill Development’ was identified as a priority action area by SEMI India’s PV Advisory Committee, comprising key executives from India’s solar PV industry. This short-term course will be the first in a series of courses that SEMI will organize in 2012 in technical collaboration with the National Centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education, IIT Bombay (NCPRE) and offer in different centers across the country.

Need for solar skill development programs
SEMI India’s workforce development initiative aims to address the needs of SEMI member companies and of the wider solar PV industry in India by offering high quality training programmes delivered by leading academic and industry experts and expanding awareness about state of the art solar/PV technologies, applications and practices among engineers and technical personnel.

Globally, the solar and renewable energy industries are seen as major engines of job growth. For those eyeing the energy sector for jobs, solar companies could just be their next big destination. For every 10 jobs created in solar factories, there will be 15 jobs created downstream, in installation, financing, project development, and distribution. So, to fulfill our target of 20,000 MW of installed solar power capacity under the National Solar Mission (NSM), the Indian solar sector would need an estimated 3 lakh people by 2022 across all domains, profiles and levels. If we consider the potential employment generation by state solar policies, the cumulative figure would be much higher.

Globally around 800,000 people are employed in the solar industry, with 300,000 people in Europe alone. Currently, US solar industry employs about 150,000 people, and approximately 6,000 people are employed in the Indian solar industry. In India, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has estimated that there will be close to 100,000 jobs in PV by 2020. Industry sources suggest that if all job linkages are considered, PV jobs in India could far exceed this figure.

The rapidly developing solar/PV industry in India, motivated by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JN-NSM) as well as State government policies, is already experiencing a severe shortage of adequately trained and skilled technical manpower in achieving its early goals. Further phases of the JN-NSM and the roll out of State government solar policies across the country will accentuate the need for trained technical personnel across all expertise segments from design, engineering and manufacturing to installation, operation and maintenance of solar PV systems.

Dr. Pradeep Chandra Pant, director (HRD and Innovative Projects), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said: “There is immense potential in terms of skill development in India. We are working on various aspects of solar resource utilization and technology development in collaboration with other research institutions, implementing agencies and the industry. As part of the various initiatives taken by the Indian Government, with support from some industry leaders, nearly 50,000-1,00,000 persons will be trained by 2015, which will enable us to cater to the needs of the Indian solar PV industry.”

Debasish Paul Choudhury, president, SEMI India, commented: “It is a great privilege for us to collaborate again with the prestigious National Centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education (NCPRE), established at IIT Bombay under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission of the Government of India, after the successful completion of our training programme in Jaipur. India is one of the prime markets in the global solar industry, boosted by the Central and State government incentives, as well as the global demand. There has been substantial increase in the demand for skilled and trained manpower for the solar sector.

“Technological breakthroughs will make solar power competitive in the next five to six years and help India to add 67,000 megawatts of solar generation capacity by 2022 -- more than thrice the country's target. Solar companies have also been acquiring talent from top conventional power companies in the public and private sectors.”

He adds, “We are also happy to announce that SOLARCON India 2012 -- the premier solar focused technology and business event -- will be held from September 3 to 5 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre.”

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