What’s Stored in the Solar Storage

What’s Stored in the Solar Storage

solar storage

The war of storage is no novice in the generation of digital transformation. Perhaps, the word storage can be framed with human evolution as we dignified civilization and society further to individual home, hence imagining a home is also a fact of storage where it composites humans and their endeared beholdings. Now, the fact of sociology has a great impact to whatever it has created. The reason it is believed ‘Technology are a rationale cognizance of Humans stored in the earthly forms of energy’.

The Untold History

To move beyond the myths and wizardly stories, the discovery of electricity is kept in the mere limelight. From the discovery of coal to the implementation of solar panels, inventors and explorers have avant-garde the energy industry to where it is today. Notwithstanding, across the past 4(four) hundred years the most novel discoveries is electricity, though it has been used in different forms from centuries it came into ‘light’ by mid to late 1800s. Similarly, batteries also contain prehistoric stories like getting unearthed from Baghdad. So in the course of discussing the history, today, we have gained all that we made centuries before to emerge as a complete organized sector dividing into two prime commercially accepted forms of technology a) Lead-Acid Batteries b) Lithium-ion Batteries. 

Batteries – An Important Aspect of Modern Life

They are portable, quiet, compact, and can start-up with the flick of a switch. Importantly, batteries can also store energy from the sun and wind for future use.

However, batteries also have many limitations that prevent them from taking on an even bigger role in society. They must be recharged, and they hold a limited amount of energy. A single battery cycle is only so long, and after many of them, they begin to lose potency. Therefore, to understand the market for batteries and how it may look in the future, it is essential to understand what a battery can and cannot do.

‘Storage’ – The Misunderstood Technology

To the present scenario, it is no grave digging that solar energy has given a solace of new hope to the juggling battery sector. Making it an undeniable part of the solar technology the futurebold solar industry is set to debunk on what’s more store on the solar storage attics.

The ambitious solar plans of India are reiterated to and fro but if you think it in the aspect of much coveting achievement of innovation then we will find ourselves reading the prologue. It’s not just that we have to achieve the 100GW(Gigawatt) solar projects but have to also create an ecosystem stating every aesthetics for the achieving the goal has to be previewed. One of an integral part of the ecosystem is the storage since batteries are composed of chemicals, the way and conditions under which they have used affects their performance, cost and lifetime. For instance, in many cases, the amount of a battery’s capacity used, also known as depth of discharge (DoD), dramatically affects its operational life. This is measured in charge cycles. A battery’s capacity is often referred to in energy terms as power over a specified time. Megawatt hours (MWh) or kilowatt-hours (kWh) are examples. Another important metric is power capability, which is the amount of power an installation can provide. Power capability is denoted in MW or kW. Ambient conditions like temperature also have an important effect in many battery types. Definitions of these concepts must thus be understood when approaching the topic of battery storage. It is important to note that different battery types have unique attributes. In addition, manufacturers of batteries technology differ and the characteristics of the leading market batteries available like sodium-sulphur, advanced lead-acid, lithium-ion and flow batteries might always give you different results. Key drivers to battery deployment vary by application and requirements are unique to each location. For islands and off-grid applications, they include the high cost of diesel fuel and a desire to integrate greater amounts of variable renewable energy while maintaining electricity supply reliability. Solar PV and battery storage at the household level is driven by government support, concerns over electricity supply in areas with a weak grid and economic trends. These include decreasing costs of small-scale battery systems, falling feed-in tariffs (FiTs) and rising retail electricity prices. Batteries are being used for a number of purposes. These include smoothing and energy supply shift applications driven by incentive programmes and regulatory requirements to increase renewables use. Other drivers are the need to control variable renewable energy feed-in to minimise variability and better match renewable electricity supply with area demand. Fast frequency regulation, technology developments and regulatory changes to compensate short-term balancing for fast and accurate response are also driving implementation.

Evolution of Storage Technology

It’s never bad imagining the term where entire power demands of a single household can be met by rooftop and
on-site solar panels, which integrated with energy storage can eventually set itself free from the grid. But where is the problem, no technology to deliver optimum performance, reliability cause or the cost which hinders the consumers to adopt temporary option and go back fetching the ‘Cheap and Best’ stuff? As the storage technology evolves and technology like Lithiumion batteries enters the Indian rupee market the algorithms of utility-customer relationships are set to revolutionize. Battery storage costs have reduced substantially over the last few years from over USD 1000 per kWh to about USD 350 per kWh, this massive cost slump in dollars shall bring the rupee spenders to some relief. The graph below shares a clear indication on where the battery business is moving in terms of cost and LCOE.

Government Plans for Storage Magnets Global Players

Large companies are sneaking o’clock to foray into the sector. Few of the late announcements shall also take you on serendipity marking the influx of storage technology and its growing market in India.

As India plans for the first time to include energy storage as a requirement when a solar project is tendered this month, opening what could become a significant new market for battery makers such as Tesla Motors Inc., Samsung SDI Co. and Panasonic Corp. The state-owned Solar Energy Corp. of India, which is responsible for implementing the government’s green targets, will ask bidders to include a storage component in 100 MW of the 750 MW of solar capacity tendered in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, Managing Director Ashvini Kumar said in an interview.

The intention of the pilot program is to reduce fluctuations in electricity supply in order to make possible the transfer of clean energy between states. The Andhra Pradesh project includes 15 minutes of storage each for two solar installations. Warehousing power is considered a crucial component of India’s green targets. The requirement, if more broadly adopted, has the potential to invigorate the storage market because of India’s outsized ambitions for the industry. It would give manufacturers the scale they need to help bring down costs of battery storage that are holding back wider adoption.

Piyush GoyalMoreover, Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy, told a gathering at the Mumbai University in suburban Kalina that India aims to achieve its 100 GW solar target as early as the end of 2017. The question is: Is this target achievable? India’s total installed solar power capacity stands at 5.8 GW, so the country will need to significantly ramp up the pace of solar capacity additions, from an average 4 GW per year to 15+ GW per year to meet the 2022 target. Critics have been skeptical, citing hurdles like poor transmission infrastructure and lack of access to finance. Yet recent signs show that the country is starting to make serious progress on how it will achieve its lofty solar goals. According to the targets, India will add 12 GW of new solar power capacity this fiscal year, and add 15 GW and 16 GW of new solar capacity in FY2018 and FY2019, respectively. This will also bring the country closer to the government’s commitment of providing 24-hour electricity to all Indians by 2019.

global storage capacity

Tesla sees an “exciting market opportunity” that it looks to expand in 2016, the Palo Alto-based company said in its third-quarter shareholder letter last year.

Panasonic is preparing suitable products for India, said Hiren Pravin Shah, head of the energy business at the company’s local arm.

General Electric recently announced that its energy consulting business was chosen by IL&FS, one of India’s leading infrastructure developers and financiers, to examine the feasibility of integrated wind, solar and energy storage projects at sites in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. By 2020, about 11.3 GW of energy storage will be installed globally, equivalent to less than one percent of the total installed capacity of intermittent renewables, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Much of the current focus on energy storage is in the U.S., Korea and Japan, said Logan Goldie-Scot, an energy storage analyst at London-based BNEF. “Recent actions in the Indian market suggest that both the government and the private sector are eager to take advantage of recent cost reductions and performance improvements across the space,” Goldie-Scott said.

It’s the time for Change in the Indian energy Storage Market

A recently published research by Technavio on the global battery energy storage market for smart grid claims that lithium-ion batteries are to dominate the battery energy storage market. The research into detail describing the growth of the 3 segments in the global battery energy storage market for smart grid: Li-ion batteries, Lead-acid batteries and Sodium sulfur batteries, claiming that the li-ion batteries segment in particular is projected to reach 3,130 MW by 2020, growing at a CAGR of close to 72%. Global rechargeable battery market growth is positively influenced by factors like growing demand for lead-acid battery in new sectors, hence driving the market at 8.2It’s the time for Change in the Indian energy Storage Market % CAGR during 2015 to 2019. Analysts estimate the lead-acid battery segment to dominate over all other segments during the forecast period. This segment is envisaged to account for more than 53% of the total market share by 2019 and is influenced by factors like its cost effectiveness and increased power surge capabilities.

A Renewable Future?

Renewable energy sources like solar and wind face a similar problem – today’s battery technology cannot store big enough payloads of energy. To balance the load, excess energy must be stored somehow to be used when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. Currently, industrialstrength battery systems are not yet fully developed to handle this storage problem on a widespread commercial basis, though progress is being made in many areas. New technologies such as vanadium flow batteries could play an important role in energy storage in the future. But for now, large-scale energy storage batteries are experimental.

Rajesh Gupta

In a live interview, Rajesh Gupta, Director, Okaya Power Ltd asserts that the Indian Solar Storage market is promising which is also bringing new opportunities to energy storage players. It’s also about a company offering the widest range of solar batteries with emerging applications and requirements to log the growth metrics in this Industry. He adds that Indian Customers are no different from the world other than the price sensitivity. As Indian consumers goes with ‘Cheap and Best’ mantra; big players like Okaya Power is all set to give maximum return per rupee to their customers. Solar is the prime focus for the company and it plans to foray strong scooping a major chunk of the market by 2020. 

Energy Density

Li-ion batteries have a lot of advantages. Lithium is the third lightest element, which leads to the production high capacity of batteries. In addition, Li-ion batteries use non-aqueous electrolytes that offer high operating voltages. The biggest difference between batteries and other fuel types is in energy density. Even the best lithium-ion batteries have a specific energy of about 250 Wh/kg. That is just 2% of the energy density of gasoline, and less than 1% of hydrogen.

Other energy storage technologies may also solve problems:

• Chemical storage: Using excess electricity to create hydrogen fuel, which can be stored.

• Pumped hydro: Using electricity to pump water up to a reservoir, which can be later used to generate hydroelectric power.

• Compressed air: Using electricity to compress air in deep caverns, which can be released to generate power.

• Solving this energy storage problem will pave the way for more use of renewables in the future on a grander scale.

Next is the Unified System of Batteries

Many of enterprises currently rely on lead-acid battery systems to provide emergency back-up power. The technology is stable, well-known and reliable. But, these installations have relatively short five-year lifespans, have to be visually inspected constantly, and take up a lot of space. Lithium-ion batteries take up much less space and last longer, but have earned a reputation for overheating, as evidenced by recent hoverboard product problems. This is the biggest issue that needed to be resolved before lithium-ion batteries could replace lead-acid batteries as the best emergency power option. A properly designed BMS combined with the battery set solves the problem. It leverages the benefits of internet connectivity to allow technicians and engineers to monitor battery sets and their environment (including temperature) remotely. The system also automatically takes action to keep temperature under control, reducing risk and wear-and-tear. The BMS also extends the life of a lithium-ion battery emergency back-up system to ten years, double the lifespan of lead-acid systems. Lithium Power has created a lithium battery energy storage system, the ESS500-48, which incorporates a new BMS. This proprietary BMS uses an internetbased reporting system that allows engineers to remotely monitor the backup power system after installation, even using their smartphones.

arvind khanna

Harping on the future models of storage, Arvind Khanna, Senior Vice President, Solar Business, Luminous Power Technologies asserted that Integrating Energy Storage System (ESS) technologies with solar PV smoothen the output, reduce the intermittency and help in maintaining grid stability. ESS with solar PV can make solar power dispatchable, reduce stress on the grid and optimize overall system resources. In addition, ESS plays an important role in optimally sizing the solar PV systems for off-grid usage. Solar PV integrated with ESS can also be used to supply the peak load above the base load, in such a way that when solar energy is unavailable ESS can be used to supply the peak load. Highlighting on the key market trends, the veteran said that  The power sector in India is expected to grow in coming years on account of increasing demand of electricity from the consumers. However, there has been an increasing awareness among the end consumers regarding the environmental issues which have led to development of clean energy technologies like solar energy. In the coming years, solar energy and solar power systems will play a big role in meeting consumer demand for electricity by reducing dependence on the use of conventional fossil fuels. The country’s National Solar Mission that aims for an installed capacity of 100 GW by 2022 demonstrates Indian government’s seriousness for building a solar nation. The installation of solar power systems at the rooftop of office buildings, residential apartments, community centers, government buildings will result in huge upsurge in the market of rooftop solar business in India. The India rooftop solar industry has witnessed a 66% growth in 2015, clearly hinting at a bright future for solar demand. But, the residential demand for solar is still lower than expected & with lowering of Solar generation cost, its expected to grow.

Note* -The complete interview can be read at click here  

Lithium ion-based storage

The Consumers Needs the Storage Weed

Therefore, the sweet spot for battery use today comes when batteries can take advantage of their best properties. To assess the suitability of a particular type for any specific use, there are 10 major properties worth looking at:

• High Specific Energy: Specific energy is the total amount of energy stored by a battery. The more energy a battery can store, the longer it can run.

• High Specific Power: Specific power is the amount of load current drawn from the battery. Without high specific power, a battery cannot be used for the high-drain activities we need

• Affordable Cost: If the price isn’t right for a particular battery type, it may be worth using an alternative fuel source or battery configuration for economic reasons

• Long Life: The chemical makeup of batteries isn’t perfect. As a result, they only last for a number of charge/ discharge cycles – if that number is low, that means a battery’s use may be limited.

• High Safety: Batteries are used in solar application or for important industrial or government applications – none of these parties want batteries to cause safety issues.

• Wide Operating Range: Some chemical reactions don’t work well in the cold or heat – that’s why it’s important to have batteries that work in a range of temperatures where it can be useful.

• No Toxicity: Nickel cadmium batteries are no longer used because of their toxic environmental implications. New batteries to be commercialized must meet stringent standards in these regards.

• Fast Charging: What good would a smartphone be if it took two full days to recharge? Charge time matters.

• Low Self-Discharge: All batteries discharge small amounts when left alone over time – the question is how much, and does it make an impact on the usability of the battery?

• Long Shelf Life: The shelf life of batteries affects the whole supply chain, so it is important that batteries can be usable many years after being manufactured.

There are many pros and cons to consider in choosing a battery type. The more reliable impact it puts the more chances it gets to become viable for market. India expects to get 15% of all power from renewables by 2022 as against about 5.5% today. Greater amount of storage capacity will be required in future to address intermittency challenges of renewable energy by storing surplus electricity to meet short term demand-supply mismatch.

Storage will also be critical in supporting the local grid through ancillary services such as frequency regulation, voltage support and peak demand shaving. While some proponents’ purview India as a land of opportunity for Storage will also be critical in supporting  clean energy but the undeniable truth is it’s not that breathe easy. Financial problems, economic manipulation, legal issues and a stubborn bureaucracy haunt the green pathway. Over the past half century, most developments in India have come from the Government, as with the institutions who have abided to work amid the structural hullaballoo. With the current Government emphasizing to liberalize the dilapidated walls of reforms, the sector has some reason to make a value for their CAPEX model.

Samsung SDI “is currently evaluating business opportunities for photovoltaic plus energy storage applications, along with the micro-grid projects in order to supply eco-friendly energy in remote areas. It has also conceived some plans to bring their top-notch li-ion batteries to the cost stimuli Indian market. But for now no specific date or time is scheduled as the company asserts to be on a watch-dog process to evaluate the potential of the Indian storage market.” 

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