The cost of solar power has dipped well below the ₹3-mark, if software major Infosys is any example.
The company has 6.6 MW of ground mounted solar capacity (and another 600 kW on the roofs) at its Hyderabad facility. The cost of generation of electricity, averaged over 20 years, works out to ₹2.85, Infosys’ Executive Vice-President, U Ramadas Kamath, told BusinessLine recently.
Encouraged, Infosys is now onto adding another 3.5 MW in the same area. Kamath said the plant would yield generation of 1.9 million kWhr of electricity per MW of capacity (which compares well with the industry benchmark of around 1.6 million units.)
Explaining the high performance, Kamath said that the company went in for premium modules. The 6.6 MW, set up last December, is a mix of both poly-crystalline and thin film—the two predominant technologies used in the manufacture of solar modules. It bought thin film modules from the Japanese company, Solar Frontier, and polycrystalline from the Taiwanese company, BenQ. Kamath said that the modules were costlier, but the economics work out favourably.
Again, 40 per cent of the plant is fixed tilt, while the rest use trackers that enable the panels keep facing the sun all the time.
Infosys was the first Indian company to join RE100, a global initiative in which companies pledge that all the energy they use for all their operations would come from renewable energy sources by a voluntarily set deadline. Infosys has pledged it would be 100 per cent green by 2018; it has come half way now.
Kamath said that Infosys’ employee strength has doubled since 2008 (to 199,829 today), while energy consumption has gone up by 18 per cent. In 2008, per-employee energy consumption was 297 kWhr; today it stands at 151. The target is 90 – the level at which the Hyderabad campus, which has 16,000 employees, operates.