Global project developers are vying for a landmark solar power tender planned in India that shall also include, for the first time, energy storage solutions as well.

Chinese battery maker BYD and Canada-based project developer SkyPower Global have entered an agreement to bid for solar power projects in India. While the two companies have not categorically stated which tender they shall be jointly bidding for but media reports suggest that it could be the 750 MW tender for 1.5 GW Ananthapuram solar power park in the state of Andhra Pradesh.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India, earlier this year, announced that a 750 MW tender for the Ananthapuram solar power shall be launched. The tender shall also include installation of 100 MW of energy storage capacity.

The first phase of the solar power consists of 250 MW. Of this, 200 MW was commissioned few weeks back while the balance 50 MW is expected to the commissioned by October 2016. An additional capacity of 500 MW for the project had also been earmarked at a different location.

This will be the first large-scale implementation of battery-based energy storage technology in India. This experiment will be extremely critical for the broad-based adoption of renewable energy in India. The country aims to have 175 GW of operational renewable energy capacity by March 2022.

Existing transmission infrastructure is nowhere close to capable of handling such massive capacity of intermittent power source. Thus, the success of battery-based energy storage will be crucial. Another problem with the Indian solar power programme is that it had given up on solar thermal power projects where energy storage is a tried and tested concept. The programme is overwhelming dependent on solar photovoltaic projects.

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