The solar PV industry is witnessing a rapid adoption of distributed solar power, especially from the commercial and industrial (C&I) consumer segment. U-Solar’s OPEX proposition is so economically compelling that it makes switching to solar a no brainer for every C&I consumer. Quick on the heels to grab this opportunity to go green alongside saving energy is Big Basket, India’s largest online grocery store having presence in major cities across the country. Ever increasing cost of grid power is prompting many C&I entities to switch to alternatives that could help cut down their monthly electricity bills. Big Basket business entails operating out of warehouses that demand 24/7 electric power and what better than solar energy to address this requirement and benefit from electricity savings.
Big Basket have in the past proved their commitment towards sustainable development with the e-commerce retail giant switching to delivering goods via electric vehicles. Now, with the adoption of solar they are further demonstrating how business growth can happen in a sustainable environment. Incorporating solar into the energy mix and making it the primary source of power for their warehouses is a step taken in the right direction and the efforts highly laudable. E-Commerce companies own large warehouses that are already equipped with sufficient rooftop space and the unsophisticated nature of the roof makes it easy to mount solar PV modules using simple structures. For these giant E-Commerce companies like Big Basket, the overriding factor influencing the decision to go solar or not is the high initial capital involved in engineering and designing the plant, procuring the materials and ultimately the construction of the plant. This is where the OPEX/BOOT model emerges as an attractive option, wherein a third party makes the requisite investment and also engages in engineering, procurement and construction along with the operation and maintenance of the plant. The OPEX model therefore offers a low risk option to Big Basket, wherein they reap the benefits of clean and inexpensive solar power without having to spend a penny on building and operating the system.
The Big Basket warehouse located at Jigani, Bengaluru is one among several sites where solar PV systems of various sizes have been planned for installation under BOOT model. The retail giant has signed a long term PPA with a third party power producer for procuring power at a rate 30% lower than the retail electricity price offered by the state government. The rooftop solar PV installed capacity at Big Basket, Jigani is 250kWp, is constructed using high performance 320kWp EMMVEE poly-crystalline solar PV modules totaling to 780 nos., 3 nos. 60KW and 1 no. 20KW K-Star solar string inverters enabled with Webdyn Data Logger Monitoring System and highest quality Balance of System (BoS) including cables, safety equipment etc. The solar PV plant was commissioned in December 2018 and generates about 1000kWh (units) everyday helping offset monthly electricity bill by approximately INR 2.5 lakhs.
Picture below illustrates the environmental impact of the 250kWp solar power plant.
Rooftop solar PV market in India is definitely gaining traction and big retail houses like Big Basket, with Snapdeal and Amazon to jump on the bandwagon soon, are paving the way for a cleaner and greener world.
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