India’s SECI to tender utility-scale energy storage with wind and solar hybrid project

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The mountainous Himachal Pradesh region could see India's first utility-scale storage system. Flickr: Watchsmart

The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has invited expressions of interest for what may be India’s first utility-scale energy storage project to be combined with a solar and wind hybrid project at Rangreek in the mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh.

The tender is for the design, procurement, construction, commissioning and associated transmission system for 2MW of grid-connected solar and a 0.5MW wind hybrid project with 1MWh of energy storage.

The tender also includes five years of operations and maintenance work at the site in Lahaul and Spiti district.

Isabella Ni, senior analyst, solar and storage research, at analyst firm IHS, told PV Tech that it had no records of any other grid-connected energy storage systems using electro-chemical batteries attached to a megawatt-scale solar system in India to date.

She said there is strong potential for grid-connected energy storage in India because of its well-touted renewable energy ambitions of 175GW by 2022, however, project financing is a “big challenge”.

Ni said that while solar tariffs in India are extremely low, the inclusion of energy storage will increase the upfront costs of the system – adding: “It is not really economical for developers to [include] energy storage at this moment.”

While decreased system costs and favourable policy from prime minister Narendra Modi’s government may help energy storage in India in the future, there is “no clear policy or incentive” for the energy storage industry at present, said Ni.

The solar power policy has attracted huge amounts of foreign investment over the last year, but this has not been the case for storage.

However, in a boon for energy storage in India Iast month, it was revealed that SECI will also be floating a tender for PV capacity within the 750MW Ananthapurama Solar Park in the Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh, including energy storage capacity, which will be part the technical requirements of the bidding.

Many industry commentators see grid stability as a major potential bottleneck for Indian PV in the coming years. While energy storage can offer beneficial services such as grid-balancing, the installation of energy storage at this stage is likely to drive up the electricity tariffs.

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