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Govt-owned CESL plans pan-India solar charging stations for e-vehicles

Solar carports, which make electric vehicles 100% green by avoiding polluting sources of power, should be commercially viable and attractive for private investors, the company's CEO says

August 30, 2021 / 01:32 PM IST

State-run Convergence Energy Services (CESL) is planning a countrywide network of solar-powered charging stations for electric vehicles that will help them become totally green by avoiding the use of polluting thermal energy.

The company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Efficiency Service (EESL) under the Union power ministry, is in talks with state governments to set up green carports, or solar charging stations based on solar power.

The company wants to involve private companies, similar to initiatives taken by the governments in Maharashtra and Gujarat. It will assess various business aspects of solar carports, Mahua Acharya, Managing Director and CEO, CESL said.

“We will soon launch a study to understand what demand is, practical possibilities and limitations like space required, battery set up or what happens when the sun is not shining. The study will last for 4-6 weeks. States have the ambition for this, they have been urging us and some states are doing more than that,” she told Moneycontrol.

On August 26, 2021 CESL invited bids for setting up a solar PV-based electric carport and rooftop power plant at Leh, the main city in the union territory of Ladakh.


 “We are extremely bullish about it. We started with Leh because Ladakh has a carbon-neutral policy. It would be a shame if we were to use any other source of charging for a car in an area that has carbon neutral ambitions. The investment required for a solar carport depends on the number of cars it would host. Because of the harsh climate Leh has over-sized batteries and therefore investments will be higher than what it could be in other parts of the country,” Acharya added.

The government de-licenced EV charging stations, paving the way for any individual or entity to invest in this field. Typically, a fast-charging station’s estimated cost is between Rs 16.5 lakh to Rs 40 lakh, including equipment, land and power.

The cost of setting up a solar carport is estimated to go up to a maximum of Rs 3-4 crore due to the involvement of solar panels, lithium-ion batteries and comparatively larger real estate. CESL believes that it is important to make it commercially viable to attract private parties.

“We are looking for ways where we can separate the panel owner. Maybe we can become just the battery investor in charging ports. The first few models will be invested by us since we have to test it out. But we have to break this business model into things that make sense. Because solar power is the cheapest source of energy today,” Acharya added.

The Centre and states are pushing for electric mobility with incentives for vehicle purchases and setting up charging stations. A number of automotive companies are working on next-generation electric cars, two-wheelers, light trucks and buses which is expected to boost power consumption.

Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Aug 30, 2021 01:32 pm
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