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$50m US-India solar institute launched

An Indian and US Solar Energy Research Institute worth USD 50m has been set up which could bring the technology closer to becoming a more viable primary energy source for India

US and Indian clean technology experts are working on ways to bring down the price per watt of PV and concentrated solar power

An institute dedicated to bringing US and Indian expertise together to research new ways to make solar power cheaper has been set up Indian Institute of Science and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL), part of the US Department of Energy.

The Solar Energy Research Institute for India and the US (SERIIUS) will explore ways to lower the cost per watt of photovoltaics and concentrated solar power.

Professor K. Chattopadhyay, chairperson of the Materials Engineering Department at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (IISc), has been named one of the co-directors of the institute, along with L.L. Kazmerskie from the NREL.

The institute aims to promote binational collaborations and comes after the US-India partnership to advance clean energy (PACE), which was launched in 2010 by US president Barack Obama and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh.

“The two governments have contributed USD 12.5m each and the rest is being obtained through industry bids. The three major points of focus in the PACE programme are solar energy, building efficiency and biofuels. Our consortium consists of 30 members, 15 from each country and includes members IIT Bombay and Chennai, as well as universities like Berkely”, said Professor Chattopadhyay.

SERIIUS will have two headquarters, one at the IISc and one at the NREL in the US. It will facilitate collaborations between research institutions and industry.