ABB and IIT Madras to develop microgrid models for electricity in remote areas

Two sides will develop a power management system to optimise the operation of multiple microgrids, with and without grid connection, while managing electricity supply to villages

India's first multi-source urban microgrid pilot set-up in New Delhi by ABB India

India’s first multi-source urban microgrid pilot set-up in New Delhi by ABB India

As part of the government’s Uchchatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) scheme, ABB India and IIT Madras have signed an MoU to collaborate for developing a power management system to optimise the operation of multiple microgrids, with and without grid connection, while managing electricity supply to villages. This system will also enable the integration of individual solar PV rooftops to a village microgrid. 

“The UAY scheme is the need of the hour and will foster greater corporate-academia partnerships which can contribute to solving the country’s issues and I am pleased that IIT Madras and ABB have embarked on this journey. We are looking forward to adding another facet to our enriching association with IIT Madras. 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 microgrids technology with the existing grid infrastructure. This, along with the modular nature of this technology, will enable access to reliable, sustainable and cost efficient power to even the most disadvantaged, remote areas of the country,” said Sanjeev Sharma, CEO and Managing Director, ABB India.

The Government of India is looking at a generation capacity of 40 GW in the next five years through grid connected (GC) rooftop solar PV and small scale solar PV plants. Such clusters have the capability of generating and using renewable energy locally from one kilowatt to a few hundred kilowatts. It is imperative to network such locally distributed nano or microgrids for optimal usage of renewable power across users, keeping in mind the dynamic demand/supply situation. Such inter-connection and interleaving of microgrids with the existing distribution system and infrastructure will provide economic benefits for the people, in terms of reduced outages and lower cost of power.

Prof Bhaskar Ramamurthi, director, IIT Madras, commented, “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 microgrid solutions tailored to meet India’s urban, rural and off-grid power requirements. Partnering on this project with ABB India, a pioneer in technologies in electrical grids, enables us to ensure that the solutions we develop integrate seamlessly with large trans-national grids, and also possibly to take these solutions to other geographies where they may find beneficial application.”

The project scope includes microgrids of 20 to 100 kW capacity equipped with battery storage. Detailed studies and simulation of the various system components along with related control and optimisation logics, protection criteria, monitoring and communication will also be undertaken.

ABB’s Access to Electricity social initiative in India has already demonstrated significant impact in the country. It 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 IITM; one for the design, installation and commissioning of a microgrid able to supply 50 kW power to a rural village, the other one to help establish and research the Center of Battery Engineering at IITM. ABB recently announced the setting up of India’s first solar powered microgrid to provide uninterrupted power supply to its factories in Vadodara.

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First Published: Nov 21 2016 | 10:24 AM IST

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