Solar bounty in India makes deploying the renewable energy solution viable creating room for returns on both financial and environmental front, says Fredric Genestout, General Manager, Atlas Copco, Product Company Chakan in an interaction with POWER TODAY.
Throw light on Atlas Copco's India plan and strategy.
Product Company Chakan is a state-of-the-art factory inaugurated in 2013, designing and manufacturing compressors for the Indian market. The successful implementation of a world-class Lean Manufacturing 4.0 has now allowed its expansion towards export. So, Atlas Copco confirms its contribution to not just Make-in-India since 1956, but also to the Innovate-in-India, thanks to its engineering team here, leading the market with innovative solutions. The examples in 2017 include the launch of energy efficient products like the VSD+, the portable XRHS650 & the electric portable XAT400E.
This design leadership integrate specific adaptations to the Indian market, for the highest up-time of the compressors even in heavy conditions, as well as the extension of the product range towards light towers, handled tools, and pumps, generating additional company growth.
What are the challenges you faced while powering up the compressed factory?
Energy efficiency has been a major focus at the facility from the start, including a roof insulation to avoid the need for air conditioning energy consumption. An eco-friendly design for rainfall harvesting, combined with a recycling water system and a drip irrigation of plants allows a fair water parity. This green factory building is recognised by an IGBC Gold certificate in accordance with Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design (LEED), and by an ISO 50001 certificate for energy management, on top of the triple certification ISO 14001 (Environment), ISO 9001 (Quality) & OSHAS 18001 (Health & Safety).
Was funding an issue?
For a sustainable company like Atlas Copco, any additional tax incentive would definitely help more than cash flow support, to have a faster payback from solar power investments, and so would stimulate it even more.
What are the challenges for installing solar cells in rooftop in India?
This solar power entails installation of 1.3 km of panels on the rooftop, and an easy cleaning solution against the dust, while being a safety proof task.
How will this new installation system make operations smoother?
This solar solution generates electric power in autonomy, which does not rely on the grid availability anymore. The plant can work all day and without any service interruption. It will also provide back to back benefits for the community. Firstly, it will allow this energy to be used by other companies by not using the grid electricity anymore. Secondly, when the plant will be closed like on Sundays, the plant will generate energy to the grid that will be useful for the community.
Will it pare your electricity cost? If yes, how?
Yes. The solar power investment is compensated by collecting free energy from the sun. India has so many days of sun per year that it is clearly a good place to deploy this renewable energy solution, with a financial payback on top of the environmental payback. So, Atlas Copco would like to inspire other companies to follow our commitment to reduce the industry carbon footprint.
How is the system likely to benefit the company?
The immediate benefit is to reach zero CO2 emission from the Chakan plant operation. It represents 600 tonne of carbon dioxide emissions saved annually, contributing to the overall target of Atlas Copco Group.
..So, will the company be able to meet its target of reducing 600 tonne of CO2 emissions?
Yes, these savings will be reached, and even be exceeded when we take into account the company growth.
Can you share details about the contractors for the system? From where have they procured modules?
Our solar panel supplier is a German company having production plant in India, using Atlas Copco compressors.
Are installations likely to rise this year?
Yes. Installations are likely to surge around 60 per cent. It is a booming market.
Is the system likely to facilitate affordable access to solar?
Probably, since the volume growth of solar panels should contribute to production cost reduction. The innovation should also bring the solar cost down, with the availability of new cells with energy conversion always being more efficient.
Share your views on India as an investment destination?
Atlas Copco is investing heavily in India since 1956, in both manufacturing operations, engineering tech centres, sales and service teams, mainly for the Indian market but not restricted to it, given that the export is constantly growing.
What other products are you planning to sustain productivity?
Atlas Copco policy is to introduce new products into the market that bring sustainable productivity to the customers. So, for example, in water well application, there is an upcoming launch of a new portable compressor this year bringing the best combination of faster drilling at the lowest fuel consumption of the market.
Comment on Goods and Services Tax (GST)'s impact on India Inc.
Atlas Copco is ready for the new GST platform and the tax structure simplification has brought smoother processes.
Installations are likely to surge around 60 per cent. It is a booming market.
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