Naveen Sharma, Vice President, Strategic Planning & Sales, Exicom Power Solutions expects 2019 to be a breakthrough year for energy storage in India with demand largely driven by the telecom sector, grid applications, and electric vehicles.
What are the potential for energy storage in a country like India?
We believe battery-based energy storage has an essential role to play in helping India realise its vision for a more sustainable energy future. There is tremendous opportunity in India for battery energy storage. By choosing storage over alternatives, India takes steps to modernise its energy system. We think this will allow for rapid deployment of storage, integration of solar and wind, and in transmission and distribution planning throughout the country.
India has a goal of installing 175 GW of renewable power generation by 2022, and battery-based energy storage can provide the flexibility needed to better integrate intermittent solar and wind energy resources into the country's electric grid. Grid-scale energy storage will pave the way for ancillary market services, power quality management, effective renewable integration, and peak load management of Indian grids.Thus, it is crucial for India to develop a robust energy storage industry and the timeis now.
Is acceptance growing for li-ion storage solutions?
There is huge interest in the energy storage space shown both by our customers as well as utilities.Solar, coupled with battery energy storage, is gaining traction in the country.
Due to rapid reduction in the cost of both solar and storage, customers can see solar+ storage as an alternative for peak power from grid. At the same time, utilities can avoid investments in weaker capacity or eliminate load shedding by utilising these resources. Grid-scale energy storage projects have witnessed costs falling below $300/kWh from over $1,000/kWh just 5û6 years back. Battery energy storage technology, in particular, is moving forward at a gradual pace driven by consumer demand for better portable electronics and EVs.
Li-ion has already witnessed acceptance in telecom towers, electric vehicles, and large-scale solar integration projects. It has a huge potential in grid stability, ancillary market, and power back-ups. It has evolved rapidly with a wide range of cell technologies and system architectures available in the market. The distributed advanced storage deployment in the country has already crossed the 3 GWh+ benchmark, thanks to telecom and related sector applications. The EV market is also gaining momentum in India due to the ambitious plans and initiatives of the government in the sector.
We believe the market for energy storage would grow to over 300 GWh during 2019-25.India is finally seeing the emergence of a grid-scale energy storage market after years of anticipation.
What are some of the new technologies that you might be looking at introducing in the market?
A smart li-ion solution is the need of the hour and we are working big time on delivering them for all applications needs.
Exicom has introduced leading-edge lithium-ion battery technology through improvements at very early stages, to work successfully in different and varied climate ranges of India, such as the cold terrains of Jammu and Kashmir, the warm regions of Rajasthan, and the tropical regions of Maharashtra, Odisha, and Kerala. With our core R&D and BMS expertise, we have been able to successfully modify and innovate the products suitable for local conditions and deployment in any part of the world.
Our energy storage solutions uniquely meet the diverse power and energy needs for various applications including grid scale, telecom networks, data centres, electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, C&I segment, and renewables. We maintain a portfolio of a wide range of products and supply to almost all conceivable applications. Our goal is to provide economy that delivers greater value proposition and performance than our competition.
We hope to play a leading role in implementing energy transition and for emissions-free mobility through development of EV charging infrastructure across the country. Presently, Exicom offers both off-the-shelf as well as customised solutions for home and public charging for 2-3 Watt, passenger segment, and commercial vehicles.
Are things on track as far as provisioning of trained manpower and setting up of manufacturing facilities for storage solutions are concerned?
To address the need for skill development in the energy storage sector, there are many organisations and industry associations such as IESA, ISGF, and TERI that organise training courses, workshops, and master classes with the support of other leading associations and universities in the Indian energy storage industry. These programmes will eventually help companies to enter the energy storage market and the existing manufacturers to impart the right skill-set in their current/potential employees. These associations also train human resources with advanced skill development for electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturing in India.
The Government of India is making sincere efforts and progress towards creating grid-scale energy storage demand, specifically in EV, and adding energy storage to renewable plants. India has a target of installing 175 GW of solar and wind by 2022.
This might be expected to boost demand for energy storage, which is becoming increasingly competitive as the cost of lithium-ion batteries falls. All these initiatives are likely to help in the setting up of manufacturing facilities for storage solutions. This month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cabinet approved a National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage, under which two-phased manufacturing programmes will be introduced across the country. The first of these will support the setting up of battery giga factories across India, while the second will focus on electric vehicle manufacturing.
What are some of the main challenges facing the manufacturers of storage solutions?
Although the government is doing significant work in supporting the segment, there are various communication gaps on the policy front that create an atmosphere of uncertainty for the investment community. Incentivising indigenous manufacturers by import subsidies, providing clear market access, and showing them the way forward through transparent policy guidelines will give a big boost to the sector. The Government should also give preference to Indian companies with a local manufacturing base, alongside weightage to local deployments and local R&D.
Besides, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on batteries must be taken in the same way as solar. Import subsidies for importing raw materials and creating manufacturing facilities should be provided.
Does the country have the potential to become an important manufacturing hub for energy storage solutions?
Yes, of course. The Indian energy storage market looks promising with opportunities in EV applications, particularly with the government's push towards EV segment. With the ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022, energy storage technologies have strategic importance for India's energy security and clean energy future. Also with supporting policies and investments taking place at the right time, it is very likely that India will become one of the leading markets and a manufacturing hub for energy technologies, not just for domestic production but for various export markets as well.
What is your outlook for the storage segment in the near term?
Energy storage is becoming a major player in the global energy market and will continue to grow in the foreseeable future. We expect 2019 to be a breakthrough year for energy storage in India with demand largely driven by the telecom sector, grid applications, and electric vehicles. The government is already putting its weight behind early adoption of electric vehicles, and these are set to increase demand for energy storage technologies, especially lithium-ion batteries.
- RAHUL KAMAT