India is looking at an innovative Belgian solar storage technology that promises to offer consumers a source of quality power as a green and reliable alternative to flickering supply from battery storage or diesel generators in distant or off-grid locations. NISE (National Institute of Solar Energy), an autonomous entity under the new and renewable energy ministry, and Tiger Power of Belgium, on Tuesday inked a MoU for validation of the technology that combines solar panels, normal lead-acid battery and hydrogen fuel cells to produce steady power.The MoU was signed as part of the ongoing visit of Belgian deputy PM Alexander De Croo, who is also the minister for development cooperation, digital agenda and telecom programmes. Croo is here ahead of King Philippe’s expected state visit later this year.
Simply put, the package is essentially a solar-battery storage module with a hydrogen fuel cell in tandem. The solar panels charge the battery during daytime for power in the night. But in case the battery becomes weak or fails in the absence of sun, an inbuilt electronic brain switches on the fuel cell to maintain power supply. “The validation programme comes under the overall co-operation agreement between the two countries, covering a wide range of areas. The Belgian offering can have usage in off-grid solutions. It adds reliability and quality of power from a solar-storage package. Defence could be one area where the technology may be useful as it comes in foldable modules and can be set up in 30 minutes,” a government official familiar with the development told TOI.
He admitted that costs may not suit rural households but hoped things can improve with scale and domestic manufacturing. “We will look into this area once the validation is done. But at this point, there is potential among premium consumers who want steady and reliable power using solar modules and defence establishments in off-grid locations who need quality power for their equipment,” the official said.