“We are looking at off-grid products using solar in rural areas, and we believe that solar products can replace or supplement several applications, which currently run on gensets,” said Parag Shah, managing partner at Mahindra Partners and head of Mahindra CleanTech.
The off-grid solar business from Mahindra will focus on solar products such as solar irrigation pumps, solar lights, solar water purifiers, and lanterns. The company has already launched two such projects.
Mahindra is looking at private-power-purchase agreements (PPP) to set up rooftop solar power installations for private companies. According to Jain, the real market for solar is in the rooftop. Solar power on grid can see saturation or might have land constraints, but not for rooftop.
However, the price structure for solar power on rooftops could be higher as it requires customization for each product.
Solar power price in India has declined significantly over the past three years. Before the tariff-based bidding came into play three years ago, solar power was being sold at Rs 17.9 a unit. Recent bids were as lows as Rs. 7 per unit. There has been substantial drop in capex for solar power as well, according to Mahindra officials.
Mahindra recently received a bulk order from an undisclosed telecom tower company to provide solar power to towers. The company has plans to set up solar power charging points for its recently-launched electric car, e2o.
Earlier this year Mahindra formed partnership with PR Fonroche, a joint-venture between PR Clean Energy (India) and Fonroche Energie S.a.s (France), to commission two solar photo voltaic based power plants (5 MWp and 15 MWp) at Gajner Village in Bikaner, Rajasthan.