Driving Change

Automobile industry shifts gears to procure renewable energy

The procurement of renewable energy by corporates is increasing in India. The automobile industry, including car, bus, motorbike and scooter manufacturers, has contributed significantly towards this change. The biggest motivator for these companies to shift to renewable energy is the need to reduce the electricity bills of their energy-intensive manufacturing facilities. These companies are either investing in on-site renewable energy systems or procuring clean energy through the open access route. Renewable Watch presents a list of select automobile companies procuring renewable energy in India…

Škoda Auto

In December 2019, Škoda Auto commissioned 8.5 MW of solar rooftop systems at its manufacturing plant in Pune. The rooftop systems were installed by Amp Energy. According to the car manufacturer, the solar systems will generate a total of 12.2 million kWh of energy per year, which will help in reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by over 9,000 tonnes per year. Moreover, the rooftop solar systems will meet up to 15 per cent of the manufacturing plant’s annual electricity requirements.

In October 2018, the automaker had installed a 1 MW solar carport at its manufacturing facility in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. The carport is expected to generate 1,475 MWh of electricity per annum, meeting over 30 per cent of the annual energy consumption of the manufacturing facility, thereby reducing 922 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor

Toyota has adopted the Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050 globally, with the aim to cut the environmental impact of all vehicle-related activities to zero by 2050. In line with this goal, the company has gradually been increasing its renewable energy procurement to meet its energy requirements in India. It has installed both rooftop and ground-mounted solar power plants with a combined capacity of 8.4 MW at its manufacturing facility at Bidadi, Karnataka. The automaker partnered with ReNew Power Ventures to set up 8.3 MW of this capacity in two phases under the opex model. In addition, Tata Power Solar set up a 100 kW rooftop solar plant at Toyota’s facility in 2016. With these projects, the company’s renewable energy consumption increased from 15 per cent in 2015-16 to 87 per cent in 2018-19. In 2018, the Bidadi facility was declared the greenest of all the plants run globally by Toyota.

Maruti Suzuki India

In June 2020, Maruti Suzuki India commissioned a 5 MW solar carport at its manufacturing facility in Gurugram, Haryana. The carport was installed at an investment of over Rs 200 million and will generate over 7,010 MWh of electricity annually. The carport is also expected to offset 5,390 tonnes of carbon emissions annually over a 25-year period. The company’s first solar power project was set up at its Manesar facility in 2014. The project was upgraded to 1.3 MW in 2018. At present, the automaker’s total solar power capacity stands at 6.3 MW.

Eicher Motors

Eicher Motors is slowly transitioning to renewable energy from grid electricity and diesel generators for energy consumption. In financial year 2019-20, it commissioned 999 kWp of onsite rooftop solar plants at its manufacturing facility in Oragadam, Tamil Nadu. According to the company, it generated 1.3 MUs of clean electricity in the first year, which led to a reduction of 1,071 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

Tata Motors

Tata Motors is also planning to shift to renewable energy. Recently, in September 2020, it signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Tata Power to set up a 6.2 MWp solar carport at its manufacturing facility in Pune, Maharashtra. Once commissioned, it will be the largest carport in India and is expected to reduce 160,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in its entire lifetime.

TVS Motor Company

The TVS Motor Company has been significantly procuring renewable energy and investing in renewable energy projects. The company has invested in 35 MW of wind power projects under the group captive model. It has also set up 5.9 MW of rooftop solar projects. Apart from this, the company has set up solar water heating and solar air heating systems for various applications in manufacturing facilities. It has partnered with Amplus Solar to set up two rooftop solar plants of 780 kWp and 996 kWp capacities at its two facilities in Hosur, Tamil Nadu. Besides, it is procuring 611 kWp of solar power for its facility in Nalagarh, Himachal Pradesh, through an open access arrangement with Amplus Solar.

Renewable energy contributed to around 76 per cent of the overall power consumption by the TVS Motor Company in 2019-20, a sharp increase from 56 per cent during 2018-19. According to the company, the shift to renewables resulted in about 60,000 tonnes of CO2 emission reduction during 2019-20. Going forward, the TVS Motor Company plans to invest Rs 60 million in group captive projects for promoting the use of solar and wind power.

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India

Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India is procuring solar power through the open access route. In 2017, the company signed a long-term PPA with Amplus Solar to source 30 MW of solar power for its production facility in Narsapura, Karnataka, from Amplus Solar’s 42 MW Nayaka solar park in Chitradurga, Karnataka. The production facility will receive 45 MUs of solar electricity per annum, which will meet around 85 per cent of the facility’s energy needs. By switching to solar power, the company plans to reduce its CO2 emissions by 38,000 metric tonnes per annum.

Yamaha Motor India

In April 2018, Yamaha Motor India installed 1,100 kW of rooftop solar plants at its production facility in Oragadam, Tamil Nadu, to increase the total solar capacity at the facility to 1,450 kW. With this, it became the least CO2-emitting facility of the Yamaha Motor Group across the world. The solar systems were set up by Mahindra Susten. By the end of 2018, there were plans to increase the solar capacity to 3,500 kW. In the first phase in 2015, Yamaha Motor India had installed 190 kW and 140 kW of rooftop solar systems at its spare parts building and the R&D building respectively.

The motorbike manufacturer has also partnered with Amplus Solar for 6,200 kW of rooftop solar systems at its Surajpur manufacturing facility in Uttar Pradesh. This solar project was commissioned in two phases. Phase I was commissioned in January 2016 with a generation capacity of 4,000 kWp. Meanwhile, Phase II was commissioned in October 2017 with a generation capacity of 2,200 kWp. Under Phase II, a 105 kW solar carport was also installed on the factory premises.

Hero MotoCorp

Hero MotoCorp commissioned a pilot 80 kW rooftop solar system in 2013 at its manufacturing facility in Haryana. The rooftop system was set up by Hero Future Energies. The bike manufacturer has installed a 1.95 MW rooftop plant at its Haridwar facility. It has also set up a solar system at its facility in Jaipur, where it uses waterless solar module cleaning systems to save water.

Hero MotoCorp has also installed a small-scale solar smart tree at one of its facilities. At its manufacturing facility in Gurugram, the company has set up a solar thermal system for supplying hot water to the canteen dish washing machine. The company has also set up a total of 13,597 solar street lights in 250 villages. It is planning to install a 10 MW solar power plant at its manufacturing facility located in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh. Going forward, Hero MotoCorp’s long-term vision is to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

Showa India

Apart from car/motorbike manufacturers, companies involved in the automobile industry’s supply chain are also shifting to renewable energy. One such company is Showa India, a subsidiary of the Showa Corporation that manufactures automotive, motorcycle and outboard suspension systems. It has partnered with Amplus Solar to set up a 1,300 kWp rooftop plant at its manufacturing facility in Faridabad, Haryana.

The way forward

The procurement of renewable energy is a small part of the automobile industry’s efforts to promote environmental sustainability. Some of these companies are also assisting in the decarbonisation of the transportation sector by launching electric cars and scooters, hybrid cars, hydrogen fuel cell buses; setting up EV charging infrastructure; and investing in electric vehicle start-ups.

Going forward, the corporate procurement of renewable energy by the automobile industry is expected to increase as the industry has witnessed that investing in clean energy can generate significant energy cost savings. Apart from the usual rooftop solar and ground-mounted solar systems, the companies have found an innovative opportunity in setting up solar carports on their premises. Solar carports not only save land, but also help the manufacturers protect new cars/motorbikes from harsh weather. Moreover, in order to avoid dealing directly with distribution companies, the companies are looking at procuring renewable energy through the open access route. All these factors will further drive the demand for clean energy in the automobile industry in India provided the metering and open access regulations are favourable.

By Sarthak Takyar

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