Government-owned companies in India are responding to the calls by the government to boost investment in renewable energy projects.
Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC), a big coal producer and power generator located in Southern India, has announced that it will invest ₹500 crore (US$82 million) to set up 25 MW solar photovoltaic and 55 MW wind power capacity.
The company has given the order for installation of 10 MW solar PV project to another public sector company, Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL). The push for renewable energy projects has increased among Indian companies over the last few years as the government made mandatory that a part of the profits be invested for fulfilling corporate social responsibility.
Investing in renewable energy projects also brings in substantial tax benefits that, in turn, boosts profitability, a significant economic issue in the recent general elections. Big public sector companies like NHPC, BHEL, Hindustan Salts and NTPC have all announced plans to invest millions of dollars in large-scale renewable energy projects. These projects include ultra mega solar power projects with capacities up to 4,000 MW.
Another major advantage of a thermal power producer installing renewable energy projects is the ease in sale of power. Indian utilities are required to buy a set minimum percentage of electricity from renewable energy sources. A number of them, however, claim that there aren’t enough renewable energy producers for them to fulfill their Renewable Purchase Obligation.
NLC is also setting up large coal-based power plants. The company can easily bundle the power from solar and wind energy projects with that produced from its coal power plants.
Public sector companies are also likely to buy solar panels and other equipment from Indian companies rather than import them from other countries. Promotion of domestic solar power equipment is another major target of the Indian government. With several incentives on offer, and an implicit government directive, the Indian public sector companies are looking to aggressively invest in renewable energy infrastructure.
Image credit: Neyveli Lignite Corporation