US flow battery specialist ViZn Energy awarded 1 MWh storage contract in India


India’s rapidly burgeoning renewable energy capacity is a recent and ongoing success story in the electricity sector, but with such vast amounts of new and intermittent power generation coming online so rapidly, the nation needs to start thinking longer term about how to handle these new sources of power.

Enter storage, and notably this week, ViZn Energy – a U.S. battery systems provider that specializes in redox flow technology.

The Texas-based firm has signed a contract with Indian utility Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) to install a 1 MWh system at its facilities in Puducherry.

The systems will be integrated by Raychem RPG, a JV between TE Connectivity and RPG Enterprises of India that specializes in strengthening power grids and energy infrastructure.

PGCIL has been mandated by central Indian government to plan, coordinate and supervise India’s vast inter-state transmission systems and the national and regional power grids. Storage will play a key role in ensuring the stability of an increasingly renewables-powered grid, with systems like ViZn Energy’s zinc iron flow battery providing much-needed balancing mechanisms.

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“India is an exciting yet virtually untapped market for energy storage due to the rapid growth of renewable energy and utility infrastructure challenges,” said ViZn Energy Systems president and CEO Ron Van Dell. “For example, there are wind and solar farms that are curtailed over 30% annually. The Indian grid is adding significant amounts of renewable generation – which are inherently variable and intermittent by nature – so to ensure stability of the grid, balancing mechanisms in the form of battery energy storage systems will play a crucial role.”

Van Dell added that storage is an effective way to integrate clean energy and offer businesses reliable and resilient power.

Raychem RPG’s solar & EMS head, Nitin Sharma, said that the ViZn zinc-iron flow batteries are a good fit for large Indian projects. “We selected ViZn because their system will provide maximum power and cycles for 20 years with no degradation,” Sharma explained. “Grid stabilization is a high stress application and ViZn is quite unique in their ability to execute without HVAC equipment in a harsh tropical climate that often exceeds 120F in the summer.”

According to ViZn, its flow batteries can access 100% of their state of charge and have zero capacity fade over 20 years. For a 1 MWh project, the system is also well suited due to its ability to perform both rapid, high-power discharges and slower, long-duration release of lower power. For C&I customers, the systems are stackable too, enabling them to right-size their storage application, ViZn said.

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