Estimating the Cost of Grid-Scale Lithium-Ion Battery Storage in India

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India has announced ambitious renewable energy targets (mainly for solar and wind sources): 175 GW by 2022, 275 GW by 2027, and 450 GW by 2030. However, the capacity value of these variable renewable energy sources is limited without grid-scale energy storage. An increasing number of battery storage projects are being built worldwide, and there is significant interest in storage among Indian utilities and policymakers. However, detailed India-specific cost benchmarks that could help utilities design solicitations and assess costs and benefits have been unavailable.

We estimate costs for utility-scale lithium-ion battery systems through 2030 in India based on recent U.S. power-purchase agreement (PPA) prices and bottom-up cost analyses of standalone batteries and solar PV-plus-storage systems. When we scale unsubsidized U.S. PV-plus-storage PPA prices to India, accounting for India’s higher financing costs, we estimate PPA prices of Rs. 3.0–3.5/kWh (4.3–5¢/kWh) for about 13% of PV energy stored in the battery and installation years 2021–2022. These estimates are 34% higher than U.S. prices, excluding any impact of taxes and import duties. Our bottom-up estimates of total capital cost for a 1-MW/4-MWh standalone battery system in India are $203/kWh in 2020, $134/kWh in 2025, and $103/kWh in 2030 (all in 2018 real dollars). When co-located with PV, the storage capital cost would be lower: $187/kWh in 2020, $122/kWh in 2025, and $92/kWh in 2030. The tariff adder for a co-located battery system storing 25% of PV energy is estimated to be Rs. 1.44/kWh in 2020, Rs. 1.0/kWh in 2025, and Rs. 0.83/kWh in 2030; this implies that the total prices (PV system plus battery storing 25% of PV energy) are Rs. 3.94/kWh in 2020, Rs. 3.32/kWh in 2025, and Rs. 2.83/kWh in 2030. Such low battery storage prices could disrupt how India plans to meet its growing energy needs.

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