Renewable Adoption Can Save Businesses 15-30% on Power Bills

New Green open access rules could propel adoption 1000X

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Affordability, reliability, and sustainability are the three pillars driving the growth of renewable energy adoption among businesses, especially the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment, Vinay Pabba, Chief Operating Officer at Vibrant Energy, said at the recent Mercom India C&I Clean Energy Meet in Noida.

Pabba said renewable energy solutions save businesses 15-30% in energy costs.

He was a panelist in a discussion on ‘Clean Power Purchase – Options and Technologies Maximizing ROI.’

Here are the excerpts from his observations at the session:

What makes solar essential for businesses?

Affordability remains a primary driver today with the declining costs of solar and wind. A secular downward trend in prices has ensured that it is now very affordable for industries to buy solar and wind power and make a saving.

So, whether you are in Noida, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, or anywhere from Kanyakumari to Kashmir, I believe that with proper structuring and solution provider, industries and businesses can stand to save between 15-30%, depending on where you are.

Renewable energy is now much more accessible to even small businesses and industries.

Is the Green Energy Open Access policy a game-changer?

We have a great enabling legislation that came out only a couple of months back— the Green Open Access rules.

Earlier, the privilege of going for open access was limited to customers with a very high load of above 1 MW to be able to sign a contract with independent generators to set up solar and wind projects and then deliver power at their premises.

That’s no longer the case. That limit of 1 MW has now been reduced to 100 kW.

This opens the space to even smaller industrial establishments, which can now opt for open access. That’s a great enabling legislation. We believe that policy amendments alone can increase the open access customer base by at least a multiple of 1,000.

How do you see the trend of businesses adopting renewables to meet sustainability goals?

Sustainability is not just driven by CSR initiatives or corporate commitments to emission reduction, but it’s also primarily by the compulsions of the supply chain – especially in very hard-to-abate sectors like cement and steel.

Europe and the U.S. today demand that companies supply green steel to them, which attracts a premium. So, companies earn more by adopting renewables.

Also, the legislation in these countries, which might kick in in a couple of years, is to impose a carbon tax on steel and other commodities coming into Europe, depending on the inherent carbon content. So, a manufacturer can have a lesser tariff barrier if the steel happens to be green and exported to Europe.

Supply chain compulsions remain a very strong reason why Indian businesses are going the renewable route.

Are businesses more confident in switching fully or partly to solar to meet their energy needs?

At the end of the day, industries need reliable power. This was one box that solar and wind could not tick for a long time. Solar isn’t available at night, which creates an intermittency problem.

This is much less in wind, given that 80% of the generation is in three to four months, highly intermittent, and, therefore, unreliable. But those were the old days.

With the intelligent combination of solar, wind, and energy storage systems, we can now give our customers a reliable power solution.

So, a firm can achieve a 70% renewable profile, which is very similar to a base load profile, by an intelligent combination of solar and wind and a bit of oversizing. Further, these projects can be located in areas where resource maximization can occur.

It is now possible to have round-the-clock, reliable baseload power with renewable energy. That’s a huge enabler and will remain a key driver for C&I businesses and industries if they want to go down the solar path.

What more can the government do to push renewable adoption among businesses further?

The government has provided the necessary push. Many power distribution companies (DISCOMs) provide green power tariffs. The industries must now be obliged to do their part, especially when solution providers like Vibrant Energy provide ample options and help save money.

Mercom India’s C&I Clean Energy Meets bring the commercial and industrial sector face to face with green energy developers and financiers specializing in designing, implementing, and funding renewable energy solutions.

Mercom India will host the ‘C&I Clean Energy Meet’ series across major cities in the country in 2023.

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Sumit Jha

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