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How Robust Storage Facilities Can Drive India’s Renewable Growth

By Author: Nikhil Mehra
Total Articles: 33

India’s renewable energy industry is clearly in the throes of an unprecedented resurgence if the numbers are any indication. The total installed capacity for renewable energy in the country at the end of FY 2014–15 stood at 35.77 GW, while the installed capacity increased by approx 12.9% in the preceding 12 leading to March 31, 2015.

In 2014-15, India augmented its renewable energy capacity by an estimated 4 GW, which translated to an increase of 8.5% over its target of 3.7 GW – a remarkable turnaround by any standards.

With the government now initiating several industry-friendly initiatives, the cost of key components like solar PV modules on the way down and solar energy tariffs expected to achieve grid parity in the near future, the only missing part of this near perfect equation is the lack of an effective storage technology.

With battery storage technologies getting better, the evolution of more cost effective batteries with higher capacities is only a matter of time and could prove to be an indispensable tool, in helping India achieve its 100 GW solar power target, which includes 40 GW from rooftop solar wherein batteries form a critical component.

With costs now on a rapid descent, solar energy in India has often been accused of being weather dependent and irregular with a complete dependence on the sun’s position in the sky. It’s a charge that can be effectively countered by using batteries which will allow the grid to supply power even sans the sun or a strong wind.

Many developed countries like the US, are already mulling over including a 20% energy generation from renewable sources target in their energy mix, which could pose a tough challenge in the absence of adequate battery technology.

Over 300 million Indians are forced to make do without a regular electricity supply – an unnecessary constraint with India’s vast rural landscape offering abundant rooftop space. Solar battery storage is therefore the quickest energy remedy for over 100 million households in India who are not connected to the grid infrastructure.

The solar battery market today is estimated to be at $50 billion annually and is already poised to register a 10-fold increase in just three years to touch 2,400 MW. Battery costs have also witnessed a rapid decline every decade since their inception in the early 1990s. Lithium-ion batteries would be cost-effective to be deployed on a large scale within five years as a result of a yearly cost reduction of 20% to 30%.

With solar power generation likely to be the mainstay of India’s energy mix in the coming years, it’s time that we think in terms of developing and deploying solar batteries that can save this precious resource and light up our lives even after the sun has set.

Since its inception, Welspun Renewables has been at the forefront of developing India’s renewable energy capabilities in the solar and wind sectors.


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