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India's global quest of solar energy storage includes a Tesla model.

NEW DELHI: India is to explore techniques used by global corporations such as Tesla Inc. for integrating solar roof and battery storage systems, according to two government sources familiar with the matter, as New Delhi wants to expedite its push to reduce reliance on expensive oil imports.

"The topic is being debated inside the administration and is critical for energy security," said one of the two senior government officials listed above, on condition of anonymity.

Solar panels India

This is against the backdrop of the country's ongoing energy shift, in which the Clean Cooking Mission aims to harness rooftop solar and in-house battery infrastructure to supply uninterrupted power to about 250 million families. Additionally, mitigating energy supply shocks has been a critical component of India's national security strategy, as evidenced by events such as the Russia-Ukraine war, which has resulted in a dramatic increase in global energy costs. India imports 85% of its crude oil and 53% of its natural gas.

Any transition to solar energy as a domestic cooking fuel will help India reduce its enormous energy import bill while also supporting the indigenous solar industry. As part of the government's continued drive toward renewable energy, the FY23 union budget announced last month included an additional allocation of 19,500 crore for the flagship production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for producing high-efficiency solar modules. This is in addition to the already announced 4,500 crore PLI plan for solar photovoltaic modules.

On Saturday, emails sent to a spokeswoman for the power ministry went unanswered.

Tesla, China's BYD Co. Ltd, and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd (CATL) were among the corporations that initially expressed interest in India's intention to develop big lithium-ion battery production plants.

Ten companies, including Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd, Hyundai Global Motors Company Ltd, Ola Electric Mobility Pvt. Ltd, Lucas-TVS Ltd, Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd, Amara Raja Batteries Ltd, Exide Industries Ltd, Rajesh Exports Ltd, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, and India Power Corporation Ltd, submitted bids for selection under the PLI scheme to manufacture 50 GWh Advance Chemistry Cells (ACCs).

According to Mint, after evaluating the offers, the government accepted Ola Electric Mobility, Hyundai Global Motors Co., Rajesh Exports Ltd, and Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd.

India, the third-largest oil importer in the world, has been attempting to reduce its reliance on imported energy, having spent $62.71 billion on crude imports in 2020-21, $101.4 billion in 2019-20, and $111.9 billion in 2018-19. The price of Indian basket crude increased to $94.07 a barrel in February, up from an average of $60.47 and $44.82 per barrel in FY20 and FY21, respectively, according to data from the Petroleum Planning and Analysis Cell (PPAC). On 22 March, the average price was $113.41 a barrel. The Indian basket is comprised of crude oil from Oman, Dubai, and Brent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed last November at the COP26 conference in Glasgow to decrease India's anticipated total carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes by 2030, lower the economy's carbon intensity to less than 45% by the end of the decade, and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.

Power storage is expected to be critical in achieving these goals. India is the world's largest proponent of clean energy.

According to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), India's power demand would reach 817 gigawatts (GW) by 2030, with more than half of that capacity coming from sustainable energy.


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