Expanding the Possibilities of Solar Storage in India

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Solar Storage in indiaA topic which has been receiving increasing interest of late is the ‘Expanding the Possibilities’ of ‘Solar Storage’ in India- both in homes and business. Solar storage, the pervasive technology in the energy sector has demonstrated vigorous proliferation because of its advanced offerings to cusp the Industrial and residential space into the promising solar sector of India.

To be more limpid, the transformation is on the verge when the era of solar + storage has transpired on our doorstep. Indeed! We are ready to welcome the newer technologies popping in storage to enhance solar output. The increasing number of solar panel installations in both household and commercial is providing a new market opportunity for energy storage makers.

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The need to have large and better batteries has augmented in last few years, and for the first time ever, India seems determined to put out the call for energy storage developers from across the world. 2015 has been a colossal year for renewable energy and energy storage industry as a whole. India witnessed an everincreasing rate of rooftop PV installations with other renewable sources and this gave access to a concurrent increase in the installation of cutting-edge battery storage. In some cases, storage by itself has turned out to be more popular than ever, especially in areas where the change of weather conditions affects the reliability issues from the local grid.

With technological advancement at its peak, more and more storage technologies are being engineered to capture surplus energy generated by the solar PV system that will facilitate the solar panel owners to store a surfeit of electricity for use later in the day. As we look forward to 2017, we expect to see an even faster adoption of solar storage policies and expect more and more battery developers to invest in new and improved energy storage innovations. Off late, deep cycle lead acid batteries have been employed in renewable energy and reliably used in off-grid applications globally for years, but the latest energy trend has given new dimensions to the use of lithium-ion batteries. The lithiumion batteries have become the most common storage technology available in the international solar market, and this is where India needs to put more focus on, especially at the time when nation is on a track to soar past a goal to deploy more than 100 Gigawatts of solar power by 2022.

In a nation where more than 100 million people do not have access to grid electricity and a similar number not having quality grid power, the use of distributed and off-grid solar PV systems along with solar storage options will be a jackpot. In India, due to the frequent power outages, there has been a huge demand for solar energy storage mainly in the commercial and residential segments. Electrical storage’s end usage was as power back-up until now, but with solar technology, the market for electrical storage is undergoing a massive transformation.

One of the emerging areas for solar storage is renewable energy integration. The Government has upwardly revised the targets for renewable energy capacity addition to 175 GW (of which 100GW is Solar, while other sources include 60GW wind, 10GW biomass and 5GW small hydro) by 2022. As more and more solar energy generation capacity gets added to the grid, it becomes challenging to manage the grid since solar is an intermittent source of energy and forecasting and dispatching of it gets difficult. This is where energy storage will play a key role in such circumstances, and facilitate in integrating the renewable energy sources to the grid.

The other area where energy storage will see a much-needed demand is Microgrids. As mentioned earlier, millions of households in India are still deprived to electricity and this is where the distributed power generation using solar storage will be emerging as an important solution. We all know that di stributed power generation is not complete without adequate energy storage devices, and this opens a door for huge growth opportunity for energy storage developers. Calling the bids for all energy storage developers, the Ministry of Power’s National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM) has also set aggressive targets for Microgrids. The solar storage market’s need in India has called out for global battery storage solution makers to grab the opportunity to step in the solar storage segment.

Tesla Motors announcement to bring its Powerwall and Powerpack lithiumion batteries for homes and utility-scale applications in India can be a good sign to facilitate an increased role for solar energy resources that had been limited by a need to have a reliable and quality storage options to address possibilities to expand the solar output in India. Also, the demand for solar storage has pushed forward General Electric (GE) to explore solar’s gigantic growth opportunities in India.

Battery technologiesMoreover, the State legislation and regulations are also acting as key drivers in the energy storage market. Government should introduce policy initiatives to facilitate revenue opportunities and reduced costs of solar storage integration and interconnection. For the first time, India’s solar energy mission has taken a next big step by including storage facility in a state-run solar energy tender. The SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India), which is involved in driving the India’s National Solar Mission (NSM) has proposed that bidders for PV capacity of 750MW Ananthapurama Solar Park in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh will have to install a small storage system beside its PV plant. The move might raise the cost, but will set India’s ambitious solar mission on a firm footing.

Storage is a broad category of technologies and applications that can help utilities balance power supply and demand by holding solar energy for later use. The time has come to start appreciating solar storage. It truly deserves attention and recognition, especially in India where power is a golden word. Solar Storage as an essential future technology can positively impact our ability to innovate all other technologies, and is set to play an important role in our attempts to use more low-carbon energy- which is also a great help to the environment.

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