Building a Solar India: IIT Madras develops microgrid models for green power supply to light up remotest areas
In its bid to build a solar India, IIT Madras announced recently that it will be developing an efficient, cheap and clean way of power supply to villages using microgrids. For this, the institute has signed a MoU with power and automation technology company ABB India under government’s Uchchatar Avishkar Yojana scheme.
They will be looking at developing a power management system to optimize the operation of multiple micro grids, with or without grid connection, to transmit electricity reliably to small villages. This system will also enable the integration of individual solar PV rooftops to the micro grid of a village. Such grid clusters are expected to have the capability of generating and using renewable energy locally from one kilowatt to a few hundred kilowatts. This inter-connection of micro grids with the existing distribution system will also help reduce outages and cut electricity costs.
As of now, the government is looking at a generation capacity of 40 GW in the next five years through grid-connected solar photovoltaic rooftops and small scale solar PV plants.
The project scope includes micro grids of 20 to 100 kW capacity equipped with battery storage. Detailed studies and simulation of the various system components along with related control and optimization logic, protection criteria, monitoring and communication will also be undertaken.
“While India has set an ambitious target for solar energy generation, IIT Madras has been at the forefront in developing decentralised energy-efficient solar PV micro grid solutions tailored to meet India’s urban, rural and off-grid power requirements,” said Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director of IIT Madras.
Meanwhile, ABB India’s managing director Sanjeev Sharma said – “In a country as huge and diverse as India, it is important to design models of integration with power management and load balancing for proven micro grids technology with the existing grid infrastructure.”
Interestingly, ABB’s Access to Electricity social initiative in India has already demonstrated significant impact in the country.
The company has brought solar power to 1,200 households in the Rajasthan desert and to over 100 households in the world’s largest delta region of the Sunderbans. This project follows two ongoing CSR projects with IIT-M; one for the design, installation and commissioning of a micro grid able to supply 50 kW power to a rural village, the other one to help establish and research the Center of Battery Engineering at IIT-M.
ABB recently announced the setting up of India’s first solar-powered micro grid to provide uninterrupted power supply to its factories in Vadodara.
With the slow but steady work by the institute, industry and the government, it seems India is not too far away from achieving its solar dream.