Solar Energy, Storage, Electricity Distribution & Projections

Beyond all stretches of imagination, solar energy cost has fallen below grid parity level, by about 85% from the tariff level Rs.18 per unit, in 2009.

Future: ‘One Sun, One World, One Grid’ – could be a reality within the next two decades. The Sun God, the sole energy source for the Globe (any conventional or non-conventional, indirectly!), is tipped to electrify ‘One Grid’ through the most direct conversion method, Solar PV route, in coming years.

Transition: In power segment, Solar PV generation installed capacity during the last two years was more than the combined share of all other energy sources. Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) share in India is projected to cross 55%, by 2030. At this rate, what is in store for the next decade is Energy Storage Systems, that could change the entire demography of power transmission & distribution. It may so happen that distributed solar generation units with adequate storage systems will make the transmission & distribution system redundant.

In this transformation towards One Grid, it is predicted that some of the previous generation technologies like pumped storage systems could get a revival! Thermal storage systems, which were integral part of initial day Solar Thermal Plants, could make a re-entry, for grid balancing. Induction furnaces, which are the power houses of the metal industry, will become the heating source for thermal storage systems, for applications like heating, air conditioning (vapour absorption technology) and several other process applications, for meeting continuous demand. Even gas engines (in open or combined cycle mode) and steam turbo-generator systems will get synergized, with thermal storage units fed by electrical source. Process industries with roof tops and needing steam are likely to tap Solar PV & thermal storage combination.

No doubt Battery Storages, with the leading technologies like Li-Ion, VRLA, NaS-NaNiCl will dominate the Energy Storage market, in this promising transition. Proofs are already evident, where the tariff levels with battery storage systems have started nearing the ‘grid parity tariff levels’.

Now, the vibrant Solar PV industry is expected to take along energy storage systems, which would open up bigger opportunities for other segments like the battery, thermal storage, heat engines, heat exchangers, combined cycle systems, pumped storage system, induction furnaces, etc.,

Let’s gear up for this interesting phase of Transition!

- Mr. S.Balaguru, Chief Technology Officer, Avant-Garde






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