The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy in India plans to add yet another record-breaking project in its portfolio and it has chosen the district of Anantapur in the state of Andhra Pradesh where it plans the world’s largest solar-wind hybrid project.
The mega project will have a capacity of 160 megawatts and would be built over a land area of 1000 acres. The project is expected to entail an investment of approximately INR 1000 crores ($155 million). The World Bank has agreed to provide funding for the project.
This hybrid solar wind project will be jointly developed by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), the renewable energy agency of Andhra Pradesh, NREDCAP, and Andhra Pradesh Transco.
The project is expected to have 120 megawatts of solar power and 40 megawatts of wind energy capacity installed and will be equipped with a battery storage system to ensure it remains operational even during nighttime when there is no sun and decline in wind speed. SECI had initiated plans to implement storage capacity at solar power parks but could not implement those plans due to a variety of reasons.
The fact that the World Bank has agreed to fund the project means that the tariffs would likely be extremely competitive, even with the existing thermal power plants in the country. The World Bank had offered debt funding for a 750 megawatt solar power park in the state of Madhya Pradesh earlier this year. The auction for that solar park broke the record for the lowest solar power tariff in the country at that time.
Andhra Pradesh has faced problems of grid failure and power fluctuations and hence it is looking at means of incorporating energy storage to alleviate grid power management problems coming from intermittent renewable energy projects.
This project is being promoted on a pilot scale project and the idea is to create a model where grid failures can be totally avoided. Similar types of hybrid projects have been tried and tested in Jamaica and China, however, this project will be largest, when commissioned.
The Andhra Pradesh government has committed to 10 GW of solar by 2022 and 8 GW of wind. Of this, there are plans for 3GW of hybrid wind and solar plants.