Webinar Insights: Evolution of Battery Storage Solutions in Rooftop Solar segment in India

On the path of decentralization of power generation, India has been growing at a robust pace in terms of nation-wide Rooftop Solar (RTS) installations for close to a decade. Despite the impact of COVID-induced lockdown and uncertainty, about 883 MW of new RTS capacity was added during Jan-Sept 2020. Now, with the possibility of augmenting the utility of energy derived from variable RE systems, Battery Storage Solutions (BSS) have begun to shine in the RTS market segment. Since 2019, the prices of battery packs have dropped below US$160 per kWh and depending on the application, the current cost of the entire Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) would be around US$250-300 per kWh. Expected to gain significant traction in next 2-3 years, it is imperative, now, to understand the different market dynamics surrounding firm & clean solar+ battery storage power, especially in the post covid-19 world.

To facilitate an open discussion pertaining to this subject, JMK Research hosted a webinar titled “Evolution of Battery Storage Solutions in Rooftop Solar segment in India” on Dec 3, 2020.

The webinar featured following 4 distinguished guest speakers to share expert opinions on various aspects of the relevant topic:

  1. Mr. Randeep Bora – VP, SunSource
  2. Mr. Nimesh Gupta – Head – Battery Service vertical, Amplus Solar
  3. Dr. Rashi Gupta – MD, Vision Mechatronics
  4. Mr. Harendra Tomar – Leader BD, Sungrow India

Mr. Randeep Bora started the panel discussion by highlighting forecasts of substantial cost reduction of li-ion batteries in the upcoming years, thereby, signalling broader set of opportunities in the RTS segment. Commenting on the potential benefits for C&I users in adopting solar+storage system, the tariffs for such system is significantly lower than the existing C&I tariffs, which is rising at an average rate of 6% per annum. By illustrating few use cases, Mr. Randeep also pointed few other advantages such as minimizing grid power demand by drawing stored power during peak times and optimizing diesel use by using back-up battery power during short power cuts. With the current tariff offering of RTS+BSS systems, the payback period for the projects would be around 5-6 years.

Mr. Nimesh Gupta expressed his viewpoints around the budding Energy Storage as a Service (ESAAS) business model. Integration of BSS and RTS system can allow abatement of RE supply shortfall. Additionally, with the net-metering facility being less effective/ withdrawn by multiple states, energy storage in the RTS system allows storage of excess energy that could have been exported to the grid. Setting up such solar+storage integrated systems for new C&I loads enables offsetting of peak capacity augmentation of the grid. On describing a solar+battery sample case where the proposed solar and battery capacity is 1 MW and 500 kWh resp., Mr. Nimesh showed that a tariff of Rs. 6.5-7 per kWh can be expected for such projects. This energy cost is found to be lower than the final landed grid tariffs for the C&I consumers across several states.

Dr. Rashi Gupta has shown emphasis on the different opportunities/ benefits that the consumers can get hold of by accessing power from solar+battery storage system. An RTS+BSS system of (maximum) 4-hr back-up for small consumers (energy demand – less than 100 kWh) would make economic sense. Whereas, for large consumers with energy demand more than 100 kWh would need to setup an RTS+BSS with 1-2 hr back-up system (and having high frequency of charge-discharge cycle) to avail payback within 3 years. Dr. Gupta also stressed on the need for more reforms in policy support for RTS segment and specifically for solar+storage applications. Most of the existing regulatory framework do not explicitly address the interaction of power system with storage. As such, under the current net-metering provisions, the export of power from the BSS to the grid is not permitted.

Mr. Harendra Tomar provided a brief description on different aspects of Energy Storage Solutions (ESS) such as the ESS technology classification, application scenarios and the ESS market opportunities and challenges. Focussing on Behind-the-meter (BTM) applications of ESS, Mr. Harendra presented 4 different layouts for BTM solutions: C&I ESS, Micro-Grid Solutions (AC Side Coupling), Micro-Grid Solutions (DC Side Coupling) and Household ESS. He has highlighted that between 2019 and 2025, the cumulative potential for energy storage in BTM RTS segment (also considering diesel replacement scenario) is nearly 6-7 GWh. Further, only 3-4% of India’s C&I establishments are consuming RE power and the country also has a total of 90-100 GW of latent installed capacity of diesel generators.

Integrating BSS and RTS systems unlocks synergized techno-economic benefits for the potential consumers. With the diminishing prices of battery and solar power & the growing environmental concerns, the share of firm decentralized power in India is set to rise unabated well into the future.

Click here to watch the webinar recording.