Five auto component companies in Chennai are getting together to set up a solar power plant in Tamil Nadu. The Rane group, MM Forgings, Super Auto Forge, Natesan Industries, and Auto Parts have formed a consortium and are scouting for land in Sivaganga and Tuticorin. The solar farm, with an installed capacity of 7 MW, could entail a total investment of Rs 70 crore. With Tamil Nadu reeling under a severe power shortage, many companies are increasingly investing on other sources of power to reduce dependence on grid feed. MM Forgings, for instance, has invested in 20 wind mills in Theni and Tirunelveli in southern Tamil Nadu. “Each company today has to be more power independent, and green power is the best alternative. A common power facility will help bring down individual company costs,” says Vidyashankar Krishnan, Managing Director, MM Forgings.
The annual power generation from the common plant will be 105-125 lakh units. A plant of this nature and size requires around 25 acres. Each company in the consortium will individually own specific assets, depending on its energy requirement. MM Forgings, for instance, is looking at harnessing 2 MW, while Super Auto is looking at 1 MW. The consortium is scouting for more partners and suppliers. “If more players join in, we could even look at 10 MW generation,” says Krishnan. Initially, the consortium had looked at a coal-based power plant. “But that has a three-year gestation period. We also don’t know what the price of coal would be at that point of time. So, we decided to go for solar power,” says Krishnan. The gestation time for a solar power plant is five months; solar panels are also available locally, he adds. The consortium is set to approach the Tamil Nadu Government for clarity on power pricing and the policy on wheeling power to respective plants, particularly during the load-shedding hours. These are expected to be sorted out by end-March. The plant is expected to be commissioned by September.
-Hindu Business Line