At the risk of sounding clichéd, the renewable energy sector is truly basking in glorious sunshine. First it was the National Economic Survey for 2014-2015 which brought in news of happy tidings, “India offers very good opportunity for businesses to set and scale up industry, leapfrog technologies and create volumes,” it said, hinting at even better developments to follow, “some of India’s major immediate plans on renewable energy include scaling up cumulative capacity and setting up a National University for Renewable Energy.” Following close on heels, the Union Budget 2015 echoes the same sense of urgency to move ahead. The Union Finance Minister Mr Arun Jaitley laid a special stress on achieving the 1,75,000-megawatt target set for clean energy installations by 2022, a huge leap from the current status of 33,000 MW. This also envisages the country’s National Solar Mission being scaled up five-fold to 1,00,000 megawatts.
For a veteran in the field like Tata Power, it is good news too. Not because it is looking for a helping hand. The Company is a leading renewable energy player with a robust portfolio of 22 per cent generation from renewable energy sources. “But a favourably disposed government is always an asset. It creates an environment for growth,” comments a market guru who keeps a close vigil on the sector. Further the company is among the selective handful which is in a position to make optimal use of this opportunity. Particularly now, when Coastal Gujarat Private Limited (CGPL), its wholly owned subsidiary, is promoting the use of solar powered appliances extensively among local communities living in and around its project site.
But first, some background data. The initiative to harness solar power to light up rural settlements has always been a part of Tata Power Company’s Energy Mission. Its current clean energy portfolio comprises of 28+ MW of solar plants, 375 MW of wind capacity and 447 MW of hydro projects. Its solar projects include 3 MW, Photovoltaic (PV) based grid connected solar plant at Mulshi in the Western Ghats; 25 MW Solar PV Power Project at Mithapur in Gujarat and 60.48 kWp Solar Power Plant installed on the rooftop of its office at Carnac Bunder in Mumbai. It has also partnered with the Australian company – Sunergy Pty to build the first floating solar plant in India.
CGPL’s flagship scheme, 4000 MW Mundra Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP), is located in the Kutch region of Gujarat, spread over 6 catchment villages – Tunda-Vandh, Mota Kandagra of Mundra; Nanabhadia, Tragadi and Modva of Mandvi Taluka of Kutch. “And each of these villages has experienced the glorious touch of sun-generated energy,” enthuses a CGPL staff member who volunteers as a teacher in a school in Modhva. From boat lights for fisherfolks in Tragadi bunder to street lights to illuminate Nanabhadia, CGPL is making a determined bid to popularise solar power appliances in every shape and form.
In this endeavour it is supported by Tata Power Solar Systems Limited (TPSSL), another subsidiary of the Company, which manufactures high quality, low-cost crystalline silicon cells (both mono and multi crystalline) and solar modules used to generate electricity from sunlight. TPSSL cells and modules are integrated into solar products such as home lighting systems, streetlights, and telecommunication towers or connected to the electricity grid.
The latest products from the CGPL stable are its unique ‘Light Pipes’ that have been installed in the Mundra Warehouse. Why are they ‘unique’? Under its Energy conservation and efficiency initiative, the team at CGPL has implemented this unique concept of light pipes that make full use of sun light and ensure that natural light is appropriately used in the area during daytime. Expressing company’s steadfast commitment to the initiative, Mr K.K. Sharma, ED & CEO – CGPL says, “We believe that small steps taken in this direction will have a great impact on conserving energy. Team CGPL is committed towards putting all efforts to ensure that such initiatives lead the way for sustainable growth.” He has reasons to be proud of his team and his products. Both are poised to be the frontrunners in the new regime of the Renewables.