“Solar power beneficial to small firms”

October 22, 2012 12:00 am | Updated 05:02 am IST - MADURAI:

However, State Government has to relax policies on third party sales

India had the potential to exploit solar power to a large extent that would enable industries to reduce its dependency on an unreliable grid supply and diesel-powered generators, which are fast becoming expensive as the Government begins to withdraw subsidies, according to M. Srinivas Ramprasad, Chief Executive Officer of Persept Solar, a Bangalore-based solar firm with German technology.

While the huge capital investments and large land requirements were factors inhibiting micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) from taking to this technology, he said that this company had created a business model to tackle both these issues.

He was addressing an awareness programme on solar power organised here on Thursday by Madurai District Tiny and Small Scale Industries Association (MADITSSIA), Tamil Nadu Small and Tiny Industries Association (TANSTIA) - FNF Service Centre, (TFSC) Chennai.

“We (the company) would bear the capital expenditure for the solar plant provided the industrial unit entered into a short-term or long-term power purchase agreement with us and had a minimum requirement of more than 250 KW.

The land issue could be circumvented by making use of the company’s roof tops.”

Speaking to the large number of small scale industrialists, he said that this minimum requirement could be met by small units if they came together under a cluster approach.

While the Central regulations allowed this kind of third party private power sales, it was now restricted by the Tamil Nadu Government. However, he added that industry bodies were negotiating to relax this norm.

Through this business model, industries could have a fixed power tariff for 10 to 15 years as the cost of Government-supplied power was only going to increase in the future as subsidies were eliminated. The cost of per unit of solar power, he said, would be lower than that of the power generated from diesel-powered generators and would come closer to the commercial tariff charged by state electricity boards.

Terming his company as an Independent Power Producer, Mr. Ramprasad said that it offered captive roof top solar PV power on a ‘build, own, operate and transfer’ model to Indian industries.

Earlier, TANSTIA vice-president K.R. Gnanasambandan said that the industry had to become proactive to tackle issues of concern as the Government was gradually retreating from various public services and ceding the space to private sector.

The TFSC, its chief executive officer P. Lakshminarayanan said, undertook a study of power sector jointly with the alumni association of Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) and have come up with a new business model to promote solar power among industries. MADITSSIA president V. S Manimaran, secretary K.S. Serma Pandiyan spoke.

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.

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