Rarely do we see companies following up on their renewable energy commitments with concrete actions, more so when companies are giants in the fossil fuel sector. However, a coal mining company in India has turned out to be an outlier in this regard and is taking measures to set up large-scale solar power projects.
Singareni Collieries Company Limited (SCCL), a public sector coal mining company in India, recently offered 34 megawatts of ground-mounted solar power capacity to developers. SCCL is based in the southern Indian state of Telangana where the solar power projects are scheduled to come up. Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) floated the tender on SCCL’s behalf.
This tender seems to be in addition to three issued by SECI on SCCL’s behalf earlier this month. SECI offered a total 81 megawatts of solar power capacity. These three tenders include 34 megawatts of capacity for ground-mounted projects, 32 megawatts of rooftop solar projects, and 15 megawatts of floating solar projects.
Last year, SECI had also tendered 100 megawatts of solar power capacity for SCCL. However, the results of this tender remain unknown, but work on another 129 megawatts of solar power capacity is believed to be ongoing. Another government-owned company, BHEL, was contracted to develop this capacity in 2018.
In early 2018, SCCL had announced plans to build 550 megawatts of solar power capacity across its host state of Telangana. The company had estimated an investment of US$380 million for this plan with annual savings of around US$3.7 million.
SCCL is not the only coal mining company in India looking to set up renewable energy projects. Coal India and NLC India announced a joint venture in 2018 to set up 3 gigawatts of solar power capacity. These companies have individual solar power targets as well. Coal India plans to have 1 gigawatt of solar power capacity while NLC India already has 1 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity operational.