We are Working with new Chemistries in line with Evolving Global Technological Trends

Luminous

The attempt to divulge the Solar Storage sector was a contrary to popular opinion. Aspects, reasons and facts happen to assimilate a unanimous voice asserting “A Vision to accomplish”. The twig to the Industry-leading opinions seems to be ascertained with the Gigawatt dream of India. Luminous Power Technologies – the well-known pioneers in Home electrical also has the ace in the hole for Solar Applications. As India helm towards the vision and mission of lighting every household, Mr. Arvind Khanna, Senior Vice President, Solar Business, Luminous Power Technologies speaks off-the-cuff with Niloy Banerjee, Associate Editor, Saur Energy International on the philosophy of Indian storage market and also purviews on the critical aspects which are ought to define this sagacious sector.     

Compared to traditional solar storage technologies, the price of Solar PV Panels is slumping dramatically. How this storage sector is striving to bring next-gen products with cost effectiveness.

Traditional storage technologies are time proven & reliable but with its own limitation well known to consumers & all stake holders. However, with increasing storage requirement for Solar Installations, we expect batteries with high life & High performance wrt DOD at affordable price. The industry is working on various chemistries to make this a reality.

There is a strict certification procedure to qualify the battery through the tests corresponding to capacity, efficiency of watt-hour and amp-hour, and charge retention shelf life irrespective of type/capacity of battery. How does your company manage the regulations providing cutting-edge solutions to customers?

Luminous batteries are designed keeping in mind the stringiest testing requirement. Besides the selection of raw material ensure that the products are consistent & conforms to the mandates.

Tech history reveals that, technologies in battery have not undergone quintessential advancements if compared to the world of connectivity or digitalization. No technology is useful without power, talking about solar storage technologies, what technological advancements the company is undergoing?

We are working with new chemistries in line with evolving global technological trends, some of the promising & viable technologies being Li-FE-PO4 & Li-Mn-Co. These technologies offer high life, compact size & operate at almost 100% depth of discharge thereby bringing in consumer value.

The local storage market has vast footprint in India with mid-level local manufacturers cultivating a large portion. How is your company poising to debunk the market potential of this sector?

The Solar battery quality standards & requirements are largely driven by MNRE. The mandates require a manufacturer to provide a battery with a warranted life of Five Years. Today consumer is also aware & expects Five Year warranty product for Solar application. You need to have a high spec product to comply with these requirements. Small players can’t meet such a stringent requirement & can’t be relied for long term commitments.

Power Intermittency is common in Solar PV modules (at least till now) hence consistency of power consumption is a concern for storage systems. Hence, offering the best security of supply even in the event of a mains power failure will be revolutionary. Any developments to purview into such hybrid model.

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.

What are the current nuggets to bring Lithium-ion batteries to much acceptance than the Lead-Acid Batteries in the Indian Market?
Lithium-Ion batteries have following advantages over conventional Lead-Acid Batteries –

  1. High life,
  2. Depth of Discharge
  3. Compact size

We expect the consumer shall be willing to accept these features @ 1.85 price multiplier

What are the key market trends you are witnessing in the solar market today?
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, it’s expected to grow.

In your opinion, what are the critical prerequisites for the expansion of solar-plus-storage?

Power Autonomy is the single most factor driving storage in the solar system. However, in India the need for storage is more critical due to the frequent power outages. As the power situation improves, we shall still need the back up as the solar power is poised to be cheaper than the grid power. Also the solar generation has a limitation that it can be generated during the daytime & in order to achieve solar self-reliance, storage remains the essential component.

What are the major challenges today in the Indian PV storage market and what will be key market drivers for this sector?

Electricity demand by more than 400 million Indian Homes presents a huge opportunity for off-grid solar solutions with storage systems for usage during long power cuts. While energy storage offers benefits such as grid-balancing, but grid stability is likely to pose a potential bottleneck for Indian PV in the coming years. Power tariff reforms like TOD metering, change in feed in tariffs & unreliable grid shall change the scenario & potentially create a demand for storage facility with every PV installation.

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