Wind energy firm Suzlon will start working on its plans for a hybrid wind-solar model next year, a senior company executive said. This is the company’s first step in working towards an integrated model where wind, solar and storage batteries will be a part of the same renewable energy eco-system.
“It is not about wind versus solar, but wind and solar. We are enthusiastic about solar and will start our research next year,” Duncan Koerbel, CTO, Suzlon Group told ET. “Suzlon is uniquely positioned in India where we already have a wind park, and it makes sense to put a solar panel park next to that and connect it to the same grid,” he said.
The company has a team of 2,500 people in operations management across India who could oversee this and find a balance between wind and solar power, depending on the conditions at any given time.
Similarly, with battery storage at the same location, it could hypothetically tap into the energy stored in the batteries and use it to provide power and create a renewable ecosystem that balances wind, solar and battery storage.
“We are working on the plan, will see the first steps at R&D level next year. It’s hard to say when we’d see something in the market as that would depend on our clients and the utilities that buy the power,” said Koerbel.
Suzlon chairman Tulsi Tanti has set his team an ambitious goal of installing 15 GW of power over the next five years, almost at par with what it’s done in its first 20 years. Suzlon estimates there is potential to unlock 300 GW of wind energy in India.
At present, Koerbel’s focus is improving the efficiency of wind turbines to reduce the levelised cost of energy by 20 per cent over the next five years. The strategy is built on four pillars – improving aerodynamics and rotor size, taller towers, smarter pitch control and integrated wind control.
Suzlon has created a hybrid tower structure, which will allow it to increase the tower size from the current average of 88 m to over 120 m.
The wind has more energy at higher levels and this will permit the company to generate more energy from the same turbines.