What Is The Potential Of Hybridisation Of Existing Wind/Solar PV Plants?

Mr. Prabhat Kiran, Business Head – Technical Assistance Program SunAura Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

A “Wind-Solar Hybrid Power Project” means a hybrid project where the rated power capacity of one resource is at least 25% of the rated power capacity of the other. In a wind-solar hybrid power plants, both the Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) and the Solar PV systems will be configured to operate at the same point of grid connection.

Advantages of coupling two technologies: When setup alone, solar and wind power being variable in nature, pose certain challenges to grid security and stability. However, studies conducted in India have revealed that solar and wind resources are complementary to each other and hybridization of these two technologies leads to:

  • Effective utilization of land and renewable energy resources
  • Savings on Power Evacuation Systems and Common Infrastructure Cost
  • Minimizing variability in RE power generation and thus achieving better grid stability
  • Reduced operating costs due to shared services
  • More balanced power mix for sale

Potential of Solar-Wind Hybridization in India: Superimposition of wind and solar resource maps of India show that there are large areas where both wind and solar have high to moderate potential. Thus, it would be very advantageous if the existing wind farms are augmented with added solar PV capacity and similarly wind turbines could be setup in the vicinity of an existing solar PV plant.
Most of the Indian states are endowed with good solar irradiation levels and the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh, with a high wind potential i.e. above 200 W/m2 (minimum wind speed of 6 m/s at 50 m) and with a solar radiation level between 5-6 kWh/m2/day2, have been deduced to be the most suitable sites for Wind-Solar hybrid projects. According to industry estimates and studies, the efficiency of standalone wind and solar projects range between 18 to 28 percent of the installed capacity. With the hybrid power plants, that figure can jump up to 40 percent! India has witnessed an exponential growth in the renewable energy sector in the last five years. As of December 2018, 35.29 GW of Wind and 26.03 GW of solar capacities have been installed. What we are about to witness next is a wave of Wind-Solar Hybridization in India.

Mr. Rajsekhar Budhavarapu, Independent Business Consultant/Entrepreneur

RE-Hybrids with co-located storage solutions has the ultimate (dream) potential to displace coal/diesel based power generation via Firm RE (FRE) generation. It would, though, be very helpful if the GoI estimates the cost of Variable RE (VRE) grid integration,
for it would help value FRE better.
Power output delivery of RE-hybrids, as a result, needs careful thought from the target business/viability applications. Should it serve Round-The-Clock (RTC) power for 24 hours or 18 hours or 12 hours or 6 hours or be construed as firm dispatchable power for shorter periods. PPAs for Re-Hybrids need to be multi-dimensional, allowing for at least supplying simultaneously power at FIT (base power) and under bilateral OA arrangements (peak power).
It is, therefore, important to understand as to what is the need and criteria for defining/ classifying RE-hybrids. Should the definition of RE-hybrids by the policy makers and regulators be from the utility perspective and/or the eventual customer perspective and/ or purely from the administrative ease perspective. We also need to exercise caution from having a very fixed definition, for there should not be any difficulty in the future for accommodating changes (in configuration) on account of technology advances at legacy projects (installed under previous RE-hybrid definition).
Answers to the above questions, would allow us to either look at RE-hybrids purely as Wind-Solar PV configuration [with defined ratios] or as any configuration between different RE technologies and any ratio.
It may be noteworthy that Solar CSP-Solar PV hybrid projects with over 15 hours of energy storage via molten-salt, are already known to provide competitive utility-scale firm & dispatchable power.
Should such projects be also part of RE-hybrid project definition in India?




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