Across India, an increasing number of businesses are turning to solar power to help ensure uninterrupted power, Reuters reports. Indian IT firm ValueLabs recently built a 13 MW solar plant for its headquarters in Hyderabad. IT exporter Infosys is building a 50 MW solar plant in Karnataka to meet 30 percent of the company’s power needs.
To help reduce downtime because of forced power cuts, many companies must purchase expensive back-up generators to keep the lights on. Cost savings from solar power, on the other hand, has the potential to pay for itself over time. Infosys said its solar-generated power will cost less than the power it purchases from the grid, but the company did not specify how much lower the cost was. ValueLabs expects to make back its $16.3 million investment in eight years.
According to data compiled by New Delhi-based consultancy Bridge To India, factories and businesses have installed over 30 MW of rooftop solar panels in the last year.
Demand is expected to increase under the country’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has an aggressive target of 100,000 MW of solar generation by 2022. India’s existing target is 20,000 MW. Bridge to India forecasts compound annual growth will hit more than 60 percent in the next five years, as falling panel prices make installations more alluring. It estimates that commercial rooftop and smaller utility plants have the potential to provide up to 83,000 MW of solar energy, more than half of India’s potential solar capacity out to 2024.
However, early adopters like ValueLabs say that solar is only part of the answer to India’s power needs. So for now, the company is keeping its back-up generators.