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World Bank plans ‘Scaling Solar and Storage’ program

The SSS is designed to be universally applicable. Credit: Scaling Solar

The World Bank plans to make energy storage an integral part of its ‘Scaling Solar’ program, that until now has 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.

The 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 program 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 also pointed out that the program would be of most benefit in regions which suffer from grid capacity constraints at peak times.

RINA is currently helping the World Bank on building the framework and setting the standards for the SSS to ensure project bankability.

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

Utility-scale solar and storage is fledgling in Africa, with one of its first such projects in Kenya receiving financial backing last year.

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