IDFC PE funded-Green Infra Ltd, a solar power developer, is ready to invest to put up mini solar plants that could power telecom towers, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, Mr Sunil Jain, told Business Line.
“Absolutely,” he said, when asked if Green Infra was okay to go with the “capex model” that the telecom tower companies wanted.
Today, there are about 3.5 lakh telecom towers in the country and most of them are powered by diesel gensets. It is estimated that these towers consume about 2 billion litres of (highly subsidised) diesel worth around Rs 7,000 crore. Recently, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India came out with directive mandating three-fourths of the towers in rural areas and a third of those in the urban, need to get half their electricity needs from hybrid systems — combination of grid and renewable power.
Telecom tower companies, on the other hand, feel that generating power is not their forte and would prefer someone else to put up the infrastructure and supply them only the green power. Green power producers, particularly the solar power companies, have generally said that they could not possibly manage tiny plants at each tower, all across the country. So, it looked like a logjam.
But now, Green Infratech says it is willing to put up whatever infrastructure required at the towers and sell only the electricity. “We don’t sell projects, we sell energy,” Mr Jain said.
Green Infra made news recently when it won two projects worth 25 MW in the second round of bidding of the National Solar Mission. Green Infra’s quote of Rs 9.44 a unit (averaged for the two projects) was the highest among the 20-odd winners. The company also has a 10 MW solar plant operating in Gujarat. It also has 165 MW of wind power capacity and expects to add another 135 MW in the next two months.