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Mr Ashish Khanna talks about the potential of floating solar in India, Tata Power bagging floating solar project, their commitment to social and environmental responsibility and more…
Congratulations on bagging 105 MW floating solar project in Kerala, please give our readers a brief insight about it?
Thank you! We are also looking forward to execute the project.
Post reverse auction of 105MW Floating Solar Project, we received a Letter of Award to develop this project worth around INR 343 crores including three years O&M (operations and maintenance). This project is one of the most prominent floating solar projects in the country and requires to be commissioned in 21 months. The venture will be executed on the reservoir of NTPC Kayamkulam District in Alappuzha, Kerala. This project will be another milestone in our accomplishments and reinforce our commitments to deliver complicated projects. Floating Solar has immense potential in our country and we will ensure that this project will act as a benchmark for floating solar projects.
What are your views on the potential of floating solar in India?
By some estimates, the potential is as high as 300 GW by just utilizing 10-15% of the water bodies in states like Kerala, Assam, Odisha, and West Bengal. Some two years ago, Solar Energy Corporation of India had invited Expression of Interest from prospective project developers to set up 10 GW of floating solar PV projects in a phased manner over a three-year period.
There are several reasons why floating solar power holds immense potential. Large land-based solar farm projects face challenges with land acquisition. That is, when the developer is seeking large tracts of land. This challenge is generally not there for water body-based projects since most of them are owned by the government. This is the biggest advantage. Secondly, though the cost of floating solar projects are more expensive than land-based projects, they make a good business case where comparable land costs are prohibitive. The cooling effect of the water on the solar panels also helps increase the overall energy output from floating solar panels as compared with land-based projects.
Furthermore, in India where water conservation is an important challenge, building large solar projects over water bodies also helps in reducing loss through evaporation.
What according to you are the strengths of the company that has made you be successful in the power industry?
Tata Power’s leadership in the renewable energy space comes from its long experience that is spread across the entire spectrum of clean energy i.e. generation, manufacturing, EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) for large projects, products, and operations & maintenance.
Through our subsidiaries, Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited (TPREL), Tata Power Solar Systems Limited (TPSSL) and Walwhan Renewable Energy Limited (WREL), the company is a front-runner across the renewable spectrum.
Tata Power Solar is India’s No.1 Rooftop EPC Company for the last 4 years as per Bridge to India (BTI).
● Executed world’s largest rooftop system 12 MW for Radha Soami Satsang Beas Educational and Environmental Society in Punjab
● Commissioned India’s largest vertical solar farm for Dell, Bangalore
● Built India’s largest carport installation 2.67 MW for Cochin International Airport
● Delivered India’s first solar vehicle charging station for Gujarat Sachivalaya
● Commissioned around 246 MW till date serving residential, government, commercial, institutional, and industrial segments across India, holding the largest market share
We offer the best in class EPC capabilities for self and third-party projects and utility-scale intelligent O&M systems for predictive maintenance.
● With over 1.5GW of EPC Projects Commissioned, TP EPC arm is one of the biggest in India.
● Strong order-book of 1.2 GW
● Strong Capabilities in key areas
● Engineering and design optimizations
● Low-cost procurement might Cost light project execution
As a leader in EPC, what key challenges do you face today?
There are several milestone projects that we have successfully executed like 70kW solar rooftop installation at the India International Centre Delhi, the largest carport in India at Kochi airport, with a total installed capacity of 2.68MW, commissioned 820.8 kWp at the Cricket Club of India (CCI), Mumbai in 100 days to name a few. Each project has its own uniqueness, however, our focus always remain in ensuring a complete safety of the employees.
The company ensures that its products adhered to the safety standards required for asbestos roofs and look after the safety concerns of employees as well as lakhs of devotees who flocked to the complex.
What are the highlights of your company’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility?
Tata Power’s commitment to social and environmental responsibility flows from our sustainability principles that is at the very core of how we conduct our business.
With sustainability being our core philosophy, Tata Power leads the way in the generation of non-emitting sources of energy that provide low-cost electricity and help reduce carbon emissions. It is also our strategic intent to increase the share of our clean energy portfolio to 40-50% by 2025 from around 30% now.
Tata Power is also aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs and has prioritized nine of these through a comprehensive study. We are spearheading the sustainability journey for the power sector by not only mapping our initiatives with SDGs but also charting a way forward through a roadmap with 3-year targets for all the prioritized SDGs. To enable this, we are building partnerships with global and national organizations like UNDP, WBCSD, Niti Aayog, ICSI, Nabard, etc. in the sustainability space to collectively further climate action efforts and make representations to the government on regulatory changes and social development.
Our sustainability initiatives also involve working closely with the community we operate in. For example, for our Mahseer Conversation Project which more than four decades old now, our objective was not just to save a species of fish from extinction. We see Masheer as an important cultural and biological icon of the rivers of India linking livelihoods and biodiversity conservation to each other.
Our ‘Club Enerji’ programme that is a nationwide resource and energy conservation initiative was started with a strategic focus on nation-building and has sensitised over 23.8 million people across seven cities — Mumbai, New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Bengaluru, Kolkata and Ajmer and saved around 4 million units (MUs) of electricity across 533 schools in 2018-19.
Club Enerji has also created around 347,986 Energy Champions and 386,633 Energy Ambassadors among school students. With its varied content applicable to children and teachers across cities, the strength of this self-sustaining model lies in its ‘4E’ approach — Educate, Engage, Empower, Enhance, which directs communities through mini-clubs, energy champions, and energy ambassadors.
During 2018-19, the Club Enerji initiative reached out to nearly 3.2 million citizens in Mumbai. In an effort to help conserve energy & curb wastage, Club Enerji is also running a three-month pledge campaign currently called “Switch off to Switch on” which started on World Environment Day (June 5) and has children as ambassadors of energy conservation to raise awareness for creating a sustainable future.
Our ‘Say no to plastics’ initiative, aims to sensitise individuals about health and environmental hazards which are triggered as a result of using plastic.
Tata Power employees are also an integral part of the sustainability journey and have given 82,867 hours and also involving their families in this effort. Our social initiatives have positively impacted 24.67 lakh beneficiaries in FY19 in the areas of education, livelihood, skill-building, clean water, health and sanitation, financial inclusivity and women empowerment.