Indian consumer goods giant Patanjali Ayurved, led by Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, is set to make its...
In line with the firm’s ‘Swadeshi’ focus, Patanjali Ayurved, Yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s consumer goods products company has announced a foray into manufacturing solar power equipment with an investment of a whopping sum of Rs 100 crore. “Getting into solar is in line with the swadeshi movement. With solar, each household in India can have a power supply, and we are here to make that happen,” Acharya Balkrishna, managing director of Patanjali Ayurved, said in an interview to Hindustan Times. This will be the company’s first venture in the infrastructure sector after it’s runaway success in the FMCG market. “The government has been working on the solar industry, and even offering sops. We will manufacture solar panels in India without compromising the quality. But we are not going to get into a price war with the Chinese solar panels,” Balkrishna added.
As per the report, Patanjali had already acquired Advance Navigation and Solar Technologies Private Limited, a manufacturer of navigation aid equipment, earlier this year. Currently, the facility has a manufacturing capacity of 120 megawatts. Patanjali plans to invest around Rs 100 crore in solar equipment manufacturing and its factory in Greater Noida is expected to be fully operational within the next couple of months. “This started with our plan to use solar as a source of power in all our factories. That time we understood (that) most of the solar modules come from China. And there was no quality consistency even in India-made ones,” Balkrishna said as per the report.
Shedding light on the current status of Patanjali’s solar project, Balkrishna said, “We started with making solar modules for our captive use initially and then decided to utilize existing capacity to manufacture solar modules and sell in the market. This unit is at a nascent stage at the moment.” He added that the company would look at expansion once the demand grows.
It must be noted that the incumbent government is giving a push to the clean energy and aims to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy by 2020 and 100 GW of solar energy by 2022. “For achieving 100 GW solar power target by 2022, the ministry, along with the states, will lay out bids for ground-mounted solar parks for 20GW in 2017-18, out of which 3.6 GW have already been bid out, 3GW will be bid out in December 2017, 3 GW will be bid out in January 2018, 5 GW in February 2018 and 6 GW in March 2018. Thirty gigawatts will be bid out in 2018-19 and 30 GW in 2019-20,” the government recently said in a statement.
The civil aviation ministry is envisioning to generate 200 MW of solar power at airports in the country, as a part of the initiative to go green. The target is to achieve the 200 MW in five to six years across the Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports, Civil Aviation Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju said. Raju was in the city today to inaugurate the commissioning of 15-MW solar power generation at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. “With the commissioning of 15 MW power generation here, total generating capacity from this clean energy route has gone up to 90 MW at the AAI-operated airports,” he said. The minister said in order to reach the goal of 200-MW solar power, the state governments would have to be convinced to accept net-metering by way of giving solar credits. “Somehow, we have not been able to convince the state governments in this regard so far. God willing, we will be successful,” he said. Total solar power generation in private airports currently stands at 45 MW, Raju said. AAI has entered into an agreement with private power utility CESC (DISCOM) for supplying excess power to the grid.
This is called ‘net metering benefit’ and AAI has obtained permission from the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission for it, AAI officials said. Kolkata airport director Atul Dikshit said the gestation period of the project, built at Rs 90 crore, was six years after which revenue would accrue to the AAI.
The Kolkata airport is all set to start using clean and green energy for its day to day operations, as its ground mounted grid connected solar plant is ready for commissioning. The 15 MW plant, capacity wise the largest one among all the AAI airports across the country, is slated to be inaugurated by Union Minister for Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju tomorrow. “Once the solar power plant becomes operational, we will be able to cut down on carbon emission and at the same time do some cost cutting once the solar power plant becomes operational,” S Raheja, member (planning), Airports Authority of India (AAI), told PTI. The solar power plant will be able to meet the power requirement of the terminal building at the NSCBI Airport here which is around 10-11 MW per day, Raheja said.
The Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International (NSCBI) airport Director Atul Dixit said the solar panels have been installed across 67.5 acre land in the operational area of the airport. The plant will generate 1.35 million units per month and this will reduce the AAI’s power bill by around 1.20 crore per month, Dixit said. Only two other AAI airports have the ground mounted grid connected solar plant – Chandigarh (3 MW) and Jaipur (1.8 MW).
AAI has completed the installation work in six months in spite of operational hindrances and continuous rain, and the total cost of the project is Rs 90 crore, he said. AAI has entered into an agreement with private power utility CESC (DISCOM) so that the excess power generated by it can be injected into CESC’s DISCOM grid and the airport can avail power from the grid when solar power is not available. This is called ‘net metering benefit’ and AAI has obtained permission from the West Bengal Electricity Regulatory Commission for it, AAI officials said.
A $7.1 billion rail corridor in Rajasthan that’s set to cut freight times between India’s capital New Delhi and the business hub of Mumbai to 14 hours from 14 days is finally showing signs of progress. About 800 kilometers away in Gujarat, a 920-square-kilometer industrial area is taking shape near the village of Dholera, with hundreds of workers fusing concrete sections of a sewerage system on a recent visit. Summing up the massive project’s ambition, a sign for a yet-to-be-built housing development reads: “Dream City.” Plagued by delays, red tape and disputes over land acquisition, for years it seemed the $100 billion Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor would remain just that — a dream. First proposed more than a decade ago, the sprawling assortment of smart cities and industrial parks on both sides of the freight railway could cut logistics charges that amount to roughly 14 percent of total costs by bypassing the country’s infamously chaotic major cities. “It’s not merely a pie-in-the-sky project,” said Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South Asia at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. “It’s a very real initiative that’s gotten off the ground. If it can get over some significant humps, it could make some very real progress.” Japan, seeking to boost ties with India as a counterweight to China, is partly financing the DMIC project and holds a 26 percent stake. Indeed, Japan’s Tokyo-Osaka industrial corridor is an inspiration. NEC Corp. has invested in a joint-venture project with the Indian government that is already providing logistics support along the route. “In the last couple of years, we’ve seen that the pace of construction has quickened considerably,” said Piyush Sinha, who heads the joint venture as NEC’s India director. For others, initial pledges remain contingent on the project’s progress. Airbus SE signed an agreement to assist in planning an “aerospace and defense manufacturing cluster” in Dholera, but pending an order of military helicopters from the Indian government, the French aviation giant hasn’t made any firm plans to invest there yet. “We are in touch with several states to identify the right location for setting up the final assembly line and certainly we are looking at Dholera,” said Ashish Saraf, a vice-president at Airbus India, in an email.
Workers in Dholera are laying infrastructure over a 22.5 square kilometer area in plots that are mostly owned by the government. Officials say this will be completed by the end of 2019, and they can then sell plots to factories. In three decades, they envision a city larger than Berlin. The goal is to set up a “plug and play” environment for investors, says Jai Prakash Shivahare, managing director of the Dholera Industrial City Development. “We are looking to tie up with anchor investors so that they can also start their construction and in one-and-half-years, when our site is ready, their factories can also be ready.” Work has now begun in four of the eight manufacturing destinations proposed in the first phase of the industrial corridor. But it has been far from smooth sailing to get to this point as red tape and budget constraints across six states and numerous sprawling ministries slowed progress, causing some to walk away altogether. Hindustan Construction Company Ltd. signed two separate agreements in 2009 and 2011 with Gujarat to invest roughly $8 billion for a waterfront city and a renewable energy park. Later the company abandoned the plans. Company spokesman Sandeep Sawant declined to comment. Development beyond the initial 22.5 square kilometer area in Dholera remains uncertain as farmers opposing land sales have a case pending in the Gujarat High Court demanding the government scrap its plans. “The future of Dholera is dark,” said Sagar Rabari, a farmer activist in Gujarat.
In Rajasthan, where roughly 40 percent of the freight line passes, the state still hasn’t taken possession of land five years after the process began, even as bureaucrats seek to woo investors by publicizing two proposed industrial townships. Unlike Dholera, farmers in the Khushkhera-Bhiwadi-Neemrana area do want to surrender their plots, but can’t as the state government doesn’t have enough money to pay for the 14 square kilometers of land. Villagers, meantime, aren’t allowed to sell to anyone else. “Farmers are the losers,” says Sube Singh Yadav, 64, a villager in Sahajahanpur. Rajasthan authorities say they are arranging 32 billion rupees for the land acquisition. “We will be proceeding with the land acquisition with innovative ways of financing,” says Rajeeva Swarup, additional chief secretary for Rajasthan’s industry department.
Most of the land needed for the freight corridor has been acquired, funding has been completed, contracts have been awarded and a phased start from December 2019 is expected, the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Ltd. said in a statement. The whole corridor will be completed a year later, it said. Much like Moody’s Investors Service — which last month raised India’s sovereign rating for the first time since 2004 citing potential dividends from reforms — some analysts are looking through the haze of short-term uncertainties to bet on the project’s prospects. But even with progress picking up, few expect anything but a bumpy road ahead. “It’s a national flagship project, yes, but despite a fair amount of coordination from the center the fact remains that the project just has so many moving parts,” said Jan Zalewski, a Singapore-based Asia analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a political risk firm. “The DMIC in its entirety will continue to move ahead at a snail’s pace.”