MNRE Lists Lithium Battery Specifications for Off-Grid Solar Applications

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has issued a draft notification detailing the specifications of lithium batteries that can be used for off-grid solar applications like solar street lightings and solar study lamps. The ministry has requested comments and suggestions from stakeholders by August 28, 2020.

The ministry has been implementing various programs for promoting off-grid solar applications. These specifications have been issued by the ministry to maintain the required quality of the systems involved.

Under the existing specifications for solar street lights and solar study lamps, lithium (Li) Ferro Phosphate (LFP) batteries were provided under the MNRE programs. Various stakeholders had suggested that off-grid solar applications should be battery technology-neutral. They also requested that lithium batteries other than LFP batteries should be allowed to be used in off-grid applications.

Considering the batteries appropriate for solar off-grid applications, following broad technology-neutral specifications have been drafted out for Li batteries.


Technology-Neutral Lithium Battery Specifications Proposed by MNRE for Off-grid Solar Applications

In March this year, the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change issued a draft notification for battery waste management. The regulations will apply to all types of batteries as listed in the Schedule-I, regardless of their shape, volume, weight, material, and composition, or use.

Earlier, MNRE had issued draft guidelines for performance testing of batteries (lead-acid and nickel-based chemistry type) series approval for mandatory registration with the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The battery energy storage system was brought under the ambit of the Solar Photovoltaics, Systems, Devices, and Component Goods (Requirement for Compulsory Registration under the BIS Act Order 2017), which was implemented on April 16, 2018.

The government also issued a proposal to set up a national mission on transformative mobility and battery storage initiatives last year. The Cabinet has also approved the creation of the Phased Manufacturing Program to support the development of large-scale, export-competitive integrated batteries and cell-manufacturing giga-scale projects in India.

According to a report from Mercom Capital Group, global VC funding for battery storage companies in the first half of 2020 was down by 61%, with $536 million in 14 deals compared to $1.4 billion raised in 17 deals in 1H 2019.