Micro grids poised to take off in India

National » Solar

The Centre’s plans to supply electricity 24/7 to all parts of India in five years has opened up vast opportunities for power and automation companies such as ABB, GE, Schneider Electric and few others. These companies have expertise in setting up micro grids that have emerged as a practical solution to provide electricity to off-grid and inaccessible areas.

The opportunity is so huge that ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer at a recently held global analysts’ conference mentioned about India, the only country he named in his two-hour presentation, as an attractive market where the company can play a larger role as a micro grid solution provider. He said sill thousands of villages across the country remained without power and micro grid was the answer to this problem.

Globally, ABB has designed and delivered solutions for more than 80 micro grids, for a wide range of applications including one at Kodiak Island in Alaska, the second largest island in the United States, which operates a micro grid that generates 28 MW of electricity from hydropower and wind for a population of 15,000. The same could be implemented in India to provide power in remote areas in a time bound manner, experts said.

The notation of micro grids came from the availability of renewable power and due to demand of electricity from remote areas. These are grid-independent self-sufficient grids in remote areas where one uses diesel together with renewable energy to generate power for a targeted population.

Typically, a micro grid of 2-3 MW capacity could cater to 5,000 households, experts said, adding that a micro grid comprised power generation system, energy storage facility and the load management system.

A micro grid can cater to a cluster of 2-3 households (10 kilowatts) to up 10 MW, which can feed power to 25,000 households.

“When we look at India you can have several benefits. You actually get power in remote areas and secondly you increase the availability of power through micro grids.

“Nano grids, which comprises a water pump and solar panels, are already up and running in India but micro grids will come up soon. We are pretty confident about the Indian government’s vision to provide power to all,” said an expert.

Micro grid as a concept may be young, but it holds the key to lighting and digitally connecting millions of lives.

Source: The Hindu

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