Grid-size battery storage has emerged as a focus area as the government is looking at supplying 50% power from non-fossil sources by 2030. Battery storages are akin to giant power banks that are charged using solar or wind power during the day and supply electricity in the night or when there is no wind, ensuring continuous availability of green power.
Storage tariffs are currently unviable due to high battery costs and non-existent market. The government is aiming at a levelised storage cost of Rs 5.50-Rs 6.60 per kilowatt-hour to make stored renewable energy a viable option for managing peak demand. The support, by way of viability gap funding or VGF, will be released in five tranches and amount to up to 40% of the capital cost of the proposed capacity.
A minimum of 85% of the battery storage capacity will be made available to power distribution companies (discoms) so that the benefits reach consumers, the government said.
The selection of promoters for project support will be done through competitive bidding process, promoting a level-playing field for both public and private sector entities. India’s solar capacity has increased from 2.6 gigawatt (GW) in 2014 to 71GW at present. Wind energy capacity has increased from 21GW to 40GW during the same period.