Wind-solar hybrid is India’s new power couple

By Solar Times Bureau

~10 GW capacity to start feeding the grid by fiscal 2024

Wind-solar hybrid (WSH) power, which harnesses both solar and wind energy, is fast emerging as a viable new renewable energy (RE) option in India.

The way it works, generation of solar energy tends to peak during the day and that of wind energy at night. The resulting intermittencies in supply impact grid resilience, which makes distribution companies (discoms) reluctant to buy power from standalone wind and solar projects. In the hybrid option, however, these two energy sources complement each other, which could help overcome the problems of variability of generation and grid security, and thereby discoms’ reluctance.

According to CRISIL Research estimates, ~15 GW of WSH power will come up over the next five years, riding on strong support from central public sector undertaking Solar Energy Corporation of India and several state governments.

Of this, ~10 GW is already in the works – either under construction or being tendered – and will start feeding the grid by fiscal 2024.

To put things in perspective, the country had 37.69 GW of standalone wind energy capacity and 35 GW of solar capacity as of fiscal 2020.

Says Rahul Prithiani, Director, CRISIL Research, “We expect the WSH market to grow and evolve as the number of projects and developers who seek to unlock value from the hybrid increases. However, the availability of good sites with strong irradiation and high wind speeds would be a key challenge, as evident in waning developer interest in the wind energy sector.”