Two spiritual and environmentally conscious communities in India have been given the CST and Solar Cooker Excellence Award 2016. Brahma Kumaris and its sister organisation, the World Renewal Spiritual Trust, received the prize for their efforts as developers and supporters of solar thermal energy, and in particular for their project to construct the solar thermal power plant India One. The Indian Minister of State with Independent Charge for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, Shri Piyush Goyal, presented the award during the national workshop on concentrated solar thermal energy and solar cookers. The prize honours key achievements and notable milestones relating to the off-grid and decentralised use of solar energy in India.
Brahma Kumaris is a pioneer in the solar movement in India. For more than 20 years it has had the largest solar thermal-powered kitchen in India in its Mount Abu ashram that can be used to prepare warm meals for up to 25,000 visitors.
The official opening of the solar thermal power plant India One is planned for 2017. With 770 parabolic reflectors at 60 square metres each and an innovative storage system, the plant will provide guests at the ashram in Mount Abu with round-the-clock electricity, warm water and energy for cooking.
The International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB) is supporting the construction of India One through the project Marketing Solar Energy in Urban Regions and Industrial Zones in India (COMSOLAR). This project promotes innovative business models to market solar energy in urban and industrial applications with a particular focus on technology transfer, information campaigns and training opportunities for local partners. It is being implemented locally by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and is part of the Indo-German Energy Programme (IGEN). The project will also contribute to the implementation of the National Solar Mission, which is part of the Indian National Action Plan on Climate Change and has set a target of expanding solar energy capacities to 100 gigawatts by 2022.