Wartsila set to tap India’s solar power potential

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The 5-billion euro Finnish energy systems provider, WartsilaBSE 0.00 %, is looking to develop India as its biggest Asian market for battery storage solutions, given the huge potential from the country’s solar power play, a top global executive told ET.

India’s solar-power capacity has grown exponentially to around 14 gigawatts (GW) and the government has set an ambitious target of 100 GW by 2020, but storage has been a missing link thus far and the government is now acknowledging acknowledging the need for it. Therefore, the government wants the industry to set up battery-manufacturing units in India as a sharp decline in prices of batteries between 2010 and 2017 has made battery-backed solar power more viable.

“We want to develop India as our headquarters for battery-storage business in Asia. India has a huge potential for solar power and the government has taken up the biggest addition of solar power in the history of humankind. If they don’t supplement it it will be a lost opportunity,” Javier Cavada, president and global head for Wartsila’s energy solutions business, told ET.

While India has a huge solar-power potential, this source of energy is intermittent and subject to fluctuations. The world over, solar power is supplemented with gas-based or hydropower to ensure continuous power supply. India does not have much gas, and hydropower project development in the country has been slow, leaving battery storage as a backup option.

So far, the high cost of storage was a discouraging factor for the price-sensitive market in India. But the fall in prices of the battery is making these projects more attractive.

Cavada said solar units with battery storage may typically cost 20% more per megawatt than a project without it but they bring more efficiency in the long term and can reduce imbalances in the power sector.

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