The upcoming solar thermal technology, which uses heat from the sun to produce energy, will require incentives to make it economically viable and wider market adoption.

State-run Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) will float a tender by the end of FY25 for a 500 megawatt (MW) capacity project of solar thermal, its chairman and managing director (CMD) R P Gupta said on Wednesday.

At the India Energy Storage Week (IESW) 2024, he said, “SECI is expected to float a tender for 500 MW of solar thermal capacity by the end of FY25. This will be the first time in India that such a tender would be floated on this scale. The projects under the 500 MW tender will have advanced technology where steam would be generated through heat and it would also help in running turbines.”

This is also one of the innovative solutions. It will need “incentivisation” in the first instance. But hopefully it will find its role on its own in the RE sector, he added.

Solar thermal technology

The heat produced by solar thermal can be converted  into electricity, used to heat water for use in homes and businesses, and heated  homes and offices. Solar thermal technology to generate electricity is most popular for large, utility-scale solar projects.

The thermal energy produced by this technology can also be used for water desalination, enhancing oil recovery, food processing, chemical production and mineral processing.

The energy storage session at IESW focused on storage for 500 gigawatt (GW) renewable energy, grid modernisation and decarbonisation of the commercial and industrial (C&I) sector, and the role of energy storage in the electricity value chain, among other topics.

“We require energy round the clock and we let the developer find its own solution. What is the kind of solar component he wants to have, the wind component which he wants to have and the energy storage component which he wants to have. Let them design it and offer round the clock energy to us,” Gupta said.

Renewable energy grid

Emphasising on the waiver of transmission level for charging and discharging, CERC Chairperson Jishnu Barua said, “A lot of new developments have taken place and prices are bound to come down. Energy storage has a big role in stabilising the grid, enhancing reliability and optimising use of RE. From energy access and availability, the Indian electric sector is now focusing on stabilising it.”

Energy transition is the need of the hour to achieve the Net Zero goal by 2070. Energy efficiency in generation, transmission, and consumption will become very important. New technologies such as Gravity storage, Co2 stone storage solution, etc are bringing a huge change in the industry. There is a big market for Energy Storage and at every stage, there are immense opportunities that the industry can exploit.

“Grid is facing the challenge on the ops side of it, regulations are an area of challenge. In the last 14-15 months 47 disturbances affected 1,000 MW and is going as high as 3,700 MW. We need to keep on adding RE and ensure grid disturbance doesn’t occur. In India, peak load experience is during the day hours, 2-3 pm. We need to focus on measures to improve the healthiness of the grid during evening hours and therein storage will play a big role in the evening hours,” Central Electricity Authority (CEA) Chairperson Ghanshyam Prasad.