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India Can Increase RE Deployment By Co-locating Solar and Wind Plants To Create Single Hybrid Station: Study

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According to NREL analysis, Solar PV and Wind will play a significant role in India’s goal to attain 500 GW renewable energy capacity by 2030.

National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), with the support of Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, (CIFF), released a technical document on Opportunities for Hybrid Wind & Solar PV Plants In India.

The report was prepared by NREL’s power systems researchers. It identifies opportunities in India for the development of wind-solar hybrid plants. The report also identifies potential locations for renewable hybrid generation at 80+ GW in western Rajasthan, western Gujarat, or Southern India.

Further, the report explains how India’s share of variable renewable electricity (VRE), has increased significantly over recent years and that the government has ambitious plans for its expansion. In 2021, India had 100 GW of renewable energy capacity. It plans to increase that number to 500 GW by 2030. This goal will be achieved largely by wind and solar PV.

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The report states that one strategy to increase wind PV deployment is to co-locate solar PV and wind plants to create a single hybrid power station.

Hybrid plants can reduce transmission infrastructure costs as well as variability in the output power profiles compared to standalone plants with one technology. This resource analysis will take the first step towards quantifying potential savings and the size of the opportunity from hybridizing solar PV and wind plants in India.

Researchers used brute force optimization to reduce the levelized cost energy (LCOE), for both standalone solar PV and hybrid wind/solar plants in all of India. These LCOEs were compared to determine that hybrid plants in locations with potential grid benefits and cost savings have both a high interconnection fee and a wind capacity factor of between 34% and 38%.

The work doesn’t capture the electricity generated from looking at energy prices and it does not quantify hybrids potential to provide other value streams like firm capacity or reserves. The report also states that the work doesn’t compare solar PV and hybrids with other generation technologies or storage systems. This means it can’t be considered a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis.

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This analysis is a first step towards quantifying India’s potential for wind-solar hybrid PV plants. It was added that future work could expand the scope and scale this analysis.

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