Govt to make courses in solar energy mandatory in engineering institutes

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By EB Bureau

Dr Pradeep Chandra Pant, director, MNRE (2nd from L) and Debasish Paul Choudhury, president, SEMI India (L), at the SEMI workshop in New Delhi

With hundreds of solar projects in full swing across India, there is an urgent need to develop skilled manpower in the country. Currently, the industry is facing a severe shortage of adequately trained and technically skilled manpower. Recognising the dearth of trained human resources in the solar energy industry, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, in collaboration with the Directorate General of Employment and Training (Ministry of Labour), has decided to make solar power skills development programmes and courses mandatory in the syllabus of the two year ITI course. Besides this, M. Tech courses in renewable energy have been introduced in 15 institutions, including Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and National Institutes of Technology (NIT). Course modules have also been prepared and the laboratories in the respective institutes have been upgraded to meet the R&D requirements. The government has also introduced fellowship programmes related to these courses.

Announcing this while inaugurating a three day workshop on ‘Off-grid solar PV components and systems’, organised by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) India at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, recently, Dr Pradeep Chandra Pant, director (HRD and innovative projects), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said, “From this academic year, 800,000 engineering students will gain practical knowledge about solar energy. And if even 1 per cent of these students take this knowledge seriously, then by 2022, the country will have a good number of trained and skilled hands.” The government is working on various aspects of solar energy resource utilisation and technology development in collaboration with other research institutions, implementing agencies and the industry, to meet its target of an installed generating capacity of 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022.

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Need for skills development

Through its Solar PV Workforce Development Programme, SEMI has also taken the initiative to offer high quality training programmes delivered by leading academic and industry experts, to spread awareness about state of the art solar PV technologies, applications and practices among engineers and technical personnel. SEMI will organise six short term courses in 2012, including three programmes in collaboration with National Centre for Photovoltaic Research and Education, IIT Bombay (NCPRE).

Globally, the solar industry is being seen as a major job oriented industry. For every 10 jobs created in a solar factory, 15 more jobs will be created downstream, in installation, financing, project development, and distribution areas. In such a scenario, to meet the national target of 20,000 MW of installed solar power generating capacity under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the Indian solar industry is projected to create 400,000 jobs by 2022 across all domains in the solar industry. Currently, about 6000 people get employment in the Indian solar industry every year.

Fee structure of SEMI courses

Last year, approximately 300 attendees (including students, academia and industry) were trained through five programmes organised by SEMI. While the fee for an industry executive is Rs 9000, academia and government organisations will be charged Rs 5000, and students will have to pay Rs 1500 for a three day programme.

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