India’s Energy Storage Industry Buoyant Despite Recent Tender Cancellations

India is on the cusp of a revolution in energy storage, according to key industry players. This was the sentiment at the well-attended 5th Energy Storage India Conference held in New Delhi where the widespread mood of the industry seemed buoyant and hopeful of a coming boom in the country’s battery energy storage market.

Speaking on the evolution of the energy storage sector in India, Sunil Joshi, the head of business development at Sileaf, a solar product manufacturer, said, “I think this is the beginning of a new era. The energy storage market of the country is finally ready to come out of its nascent stage.”

The event attracted policy makers, technology leaders, and institutional buyers of energy storage, electric vehicles, and charging infrastructure from across India.

Conference participants included various established players in the Indian market – like Mahindra, ACME, Exide, and Delta – along international companies looking to explore expansion opportunities. The number of domestic companies clearly outnumbered the foreign players at the exhibition, thus throwing a positive light on the local market growth.

Organized every year by the India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA), the conference addresses the larger issues, challenges, emerging trends, and a diverse spectrum of opportunities for energy storage, micro‑grids, and electric vehicles in the country.

The conference also provided a platform for discussing the steps that can be taken toward the implementation of the country’s ambitious Energy Storage Mission. Policy makers shared their insights on the National Storage Mission and deliberated on how it is crucial for the integration of renewables in the country.

Talking to some of the companies at the conference revealed that the industry is mostly happy with the government’s efforts towards the growth of renewable energy sector. However, many felt that while the intent was good, the implementation and execution of government’s plans could be better.

As India moves forward with an ambitious target to increase its renewable energy generation capacity, the intermittent nature of solar and wind is creating the need for an efficient storage system to support the grid. Businesses and Industries who do not want to rely on the grid are desperately waiting for solar storage solutions to become viable.

To cope with increasing renewable energy addition, India is developing the Green Energy Corridor (GEC), an interstate transmission network that would connect renewable energy rich states with the states that lag behind in renewable energy generation potential.

In December 2017, the Central Electricity Authority released a report stating how producing flexible, stand-by generation and battery storage is vital to ensuring grid stability in the face of massive increases in intermittent renewable generation.

“A permanent mechanism of ancillary services needs to be provided for the country to manage the balancing of renewables, as well as emergency situations for frequency control,” CEA said in the report.

According to Mercom’s India Solar Project Tracker, ~360 MW of solar projects with battery energy storage systems (BESS) were tendered in India.

However, it is important to note that various tenders for projects with BESS have been cancelled recently, which has somewhat dampened the industry’s spirit. But the industry players appear confident of a good year ahead with an increasing number of tender and auction activities.