The Ministry Of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has announced draft specifications for lithium ion (li-ion) batteries used for distributed solar applications under various schemes. These batteries will also be technology neutral. Currently, Lithium Ferro Phosphate batteries (LFP) are being provided under the specifications for solar street lights with a wattage of 12 W and study lamps. The MNRE has clarified that specifications for these applications may be battery technology neutral and Lithium chemistries other than LFP may also be allowed to be installed with these systems. Certain technology neutral specifications have been worked out by the MNRE, such as a minimum specific energy requirement of 100 Wh per kg, charge discharge cycles of 2,000 cycles at C/10 rate and at 25 degrees Celsius, and a minimum 85 percent depth of discharge.
Stakeholders in the off-grid solar applications and energy storage sectors have now been requested to provide comments or suggestions on the above specifications latest by August 28, 2020.
Despite most Indian tenders for large-scale energy storage being technology-agnostic, battery storage is the most dominant choice. The popularity of battery storage over other forms of energy storage is also true for other countries across the world. According to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2019, global growth in batteries is set to exceed other storage options available to electricity systems over the next two decades. Battery storage, coupled with solar PV, also appears to be one of the most cost-effective ways of helping provide affordable electricity to isolated communities.