Bengaluru-based solar manufacturer Orb Energy has begun work on Phase III of one of the largest multi-site solar rooftop projects in the country.
Polypropylene (PP) woven fabric maker Klene Paks is installing a 7.63 MW scheme across rooftops at its sites in Hassan, Bangalore and Krishnagiri, in the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
“Commercial and industrial [C&I] customers in India pay a lot for their electricity – Rs7-9 per unit,” said Damian Miller, co-founder and CEO of Orb Energy. “For companies like Klene Paks the cost of power is at par with their raw material costs. We are extremely pleased that Klene Paks is now seeing substantial savings on their electricity bill from Orb’s rooftop solar systems.”
Vimal Sipani, MD of Klene Paks Limited, said: “Klene Paks is India’s largest manufacturer and exporter of PP woven fabrics, with a production capacity of 60,000 MT per annum. Our aim is to bring down our electricity costs and also support green energy. Once Orb completes installation, we expect to produce an average of approximately 38,000 units of clean solar electricity per day, and save more than Rs6.5 crore per annum in our electricity bill.”
Helping small businesses go solar
Orb Energy was founded by Miller and NP Ramesh in 2006 with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). According to the company’s website it has sold more than 160,000 solar systems with cumulative installations of more than 50 MW of rooftop PV. A vertically integrated company, it manufactures solar panels and solar water heating systems and also provides finance. Orb expanded operations to Kenya in 2014, aiming to replicate its Indian model in Africa.
“Our growth is driven primarily by SME demand for rooftop solar power, which will touch the 12 GW mark in the next five years,” Miller has previously told pv magazine. “To enable SMEs to afford solar, we have set-up an in-house finance facility to provide extended payment terms to commercial and industrial customers. With a 25% down payment, an SME can purchase a rooftop solar system from Orb. The remaining 75% is then paid over 3-4 years. Orb tries to align the tenure of the finance with the payback period to the SME. In the past two years, we have extended Rs30 crore in loans to over 50 SMEs and have served over 500 SMEs to date.”
Amortized over 25 years, Orb’s rooftop C&I systems reduce the cost of electricity to approximately Rs3 per unit or less – much lower than the national average of Rs7.4 per unit.