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One of a kind project...
What happens when large, power-consuming industries come together to address future power needs? They set up a solar power field with handsome capacity!

“Auto ancillary companies  that are involved especially in forging/heat treatment and foundry activities, consume a lot of power. We use more than a crore of units of power per month,” said S Murali Shankar, Joint Managing Director, Super Auto Forge Private Ltd.  

    To tackle power shortages and disruptive supplies, the state government invited stakeholders to help reduce the deficit between demand and supply. The TN Solar Power Policy unveiled in 2012, aims to create 3000 MW of solar power by 2015. The policy mandates high-tension consumers to produce 3 per cent of their total consumption through solar power by 2013 to be increased to 6 per cent by 2014.

Solar power field near Madurai

Five like-minded auto ancillary companies, namely, Autotech Industries Pvt Ltd, MM Forgings Ltd, Rane (Madras) Ltd, I M Gears and Super Auto Forge Private Ltd, have come together to form a consortium to set up a solar power field with the potential for 50 MW at Aruppukkotai near Madurai. Presently, Super Auto Forge has installed an 1 MW solar power plant and MM Forgings a 2 MW solar plant. “Super Auto Forge owns 40 acres of land in this area. We plan to increase our capacity to 4-5 MW in the next 3-4 years,” said Shankar.

    High solar irradiance in and around Madurai helped the consortium to zero in on this location. Working as a consortium has helped optimal use of common facilities like security, remote monitoring on daily basis and errecting a  common-feeder to the sub-station. “We were able to bargain for a reduction of about Rs 20 lakh per megawatt by approaching as a consortium,” said Shankar.

The consortium entrusted Mahindra EPC to construct the project, which erected the solar plant within just 40 days. Also Mahindra EPC has on its cards a 250 MW capacity in the same region. “This solar power project is first of its kind under the captive scheme with REC. TEDA, TANGEDCO and MNRE were receptive of our efforts and the policy was formulated and helped us in quick processing,” said Shankar.

5000 units a day…

 “The land that we use for erecting the plant at Aruppukottai was barren. This initiative not only generates power but has also generated employment. The plant is expected to be operational for 320 days a year and on an average give about 5000 units a day. With more such initiatives we can reduce our carbon foot prints and move further towards green energy,” said Shankar.

Super Auto Forge has also installed a 350 KW solar power plant at the roof top of its Kolapakkam facility. The initiative is a welcome one for power deficit Tamil Nadu. With a vision defined and policy set, the government should pursue this green dream with vigour and free of procedural bottlenecks.

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