Novel plan with Bangalore firm for installing solar equipment

With no end in sight to the power crisis that has forced small industries in Tamil Nadu to sharply curtail their production, industry associations have begun exploring various possibilities to attain self-sufficiency in power generation.

As an initial step, a Bangalore-based solar firm with German technology has been invited to the southern districts to discuss technological and commercial viability. K.R. Thangaraj, president of Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association (TANSTIA), told The Hindu on Tuesday that as per one of the proposals, the Bangalore firm would bear the initial expenditure for installing the solar equipment but subject to a minimum capacity of 250 KW. The firm would sell the power with a toll.

This proposal was attractive to the micro, small and medium enterprises, which are spared both the huge capital investment and the dependency on generators, which has become expensive after the recent diesel tariff hike.

“We are confident that this project will be successful and we are meeting the representatives of the firm in Tiruneveli on Wednesday. Industries in Hosur and Tiruchi are already contemplating putting up solar power plants,” he added.

Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (MADITSSIA) president V. S Manimaran said that delegations from two companies were coming here on Thursday. Several units would be joining together to install a solar power plant. “Small industries going for this solar project can source 60 per cent of their power from this power plant while reducing the dependency on the State power grid drastically,” according to Guna Singh Chelladurai, Chairman of TANSTIA-FNF Service Centre, which is coordinating with the solar firms.

With policies on subsidies for diesel, coal and commercial gas changing, the tariffs of government supplied power would increase to Rs. 13 to Rs. 14 per unit in a few years. However, with China having entered the solar field in a big way, the cost of panels would come down soon.

Companies could adopt a cluster approach and go for solar power, which was both a constant and a clean source of power.

While 250 KW was the entry threshold, the industrial units could scale up based on the demand. Also, in the power sector, the country was constantly facing a significant gap in supply-demand.

The TANSTIA-FNF Service Centre, which provides supporting services to small scale industries, is a collaborative venture between TANSTIA and Friedrich Naumann Foundation, a German organisation established in 1958 by Theodor Heuss, the first president of the West Germany.