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World Bank extends solar objectives to include storage

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The World Bank is planning a ‘Scaling Solar and Storage’ programme, an extension on its aim to foster solar energy development.

The bank had been focused purely on facilitating large-scale solar tendering, predominantly in Africa. The new Scaling Solar and Storage (SSS) program, which has yet to be formerly announced and is expected to be rolled out over the next couple of years, would work on utility-scale tenders that pair solar PV with battery storage technology.

World Bank logoThe World Bank engaged Italy-based technical advisory RINA to explore the feasibility of such tenders.

Ugo Salerno, chairman and CEO of RINA, told Energy-Storage.News that the programme planning takes into consideration anticipated developments in storage technology and cost over the intended roll-out period. RINA also undertook extensive consultation with leading players in the industry to ensure that SSS project development would be appealing to them.

RINA’s understanding is that the program is aimed at developing countries and emerging markets in general and isn’t specifically limited to any one geography.

Salerno noted that quality control and counter-party risk are likely to be key considerations when developing these projects in concert with local partners. Projects will also need to adhere to performance standards and regulations that can meet global financing and performance expectations for the full lifecycle of the energy storage systems.

He also said batteries are “the most important field of development” in renewable energy at present – adding: “With existing technology, batteries are now becoming affordable, which means that the renewable energy is becoming self-sufficient. More and more you will not need traditional generation to be put aside renewables.

“We don’t even know what will happen if there is a quantum leap in [storage] technology.”

While the SSS is designed to be universally applicable and avoid preferentially targeting any specific countries or regions, Salerno pointed out that the programme would be of most benefit in regions which suffer from grid capacity constraints at peak times.

To date, the original ‘Scaling Solar’ programme has overseen PV tenders rolled out across Zambia, Ethiopia, Madagascar and Senegal, and achieved impressive price reductions.

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