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In an interview with Mr. Brahmaprakash Lakshmipati, we explored the sustainability initiatives at Big Basket and their need to drive solar adoption at the warehouses. 

1.      
What are the sustainability initiatives by Big
Basket?

We definitely want to reduce our
carbon footprint and grow in a sustainable way.The most important initiative
has been installation of rooftop solar power plants at our warehouses. We have
initiated the use of electric vehicles for our deliveries in Delhi, Hyderabad
and Bangalore. We would ideally like to adopt this method across India.
Currently availability of battery charging infrastructure is a constraint which
needs to be addressed. In addition our customer invoices are printed on recycled
paper, thanks to which we will considerably reduce cutting of trees.

2.      
Why
is sustainability and solar important to Big Basket?

Sustainability is important from two aspects. Firstly it is a cost
saving mechanism, we pay large sums for electricity bills in our energy
intensive warehouses due to the facilities such as cold rooms and material handling
equipment that consume lot of power. By adopting rooftop solar we are saving
money by reducing our electricity consumption from the grid and therefore the
bill. In addition as a policy, Big Basket believes in being as eco-friendly as
possible by including sustainability in all its processes.

3.      
Does going solar drastically reduce your
operation cost?

The savings could be about 15 to
20 % of electricity bill, a noteworthy amount that saves
the OPEX for the company. The savings could be more but for the cap on rooftop
solar installation over the contracted demand placed by the state electricity
boards.

4.      
What percentage of renewable energy is currently
being integrated in Big Basket’s warehouses?

We have started solar installation
on all our warehouses where feasible. We have already installed roof top solar
of capacity 1.6 MWp on our major warehouses located in Tier 1 cities. We are in
the process of installing additional 3 MW of solar panels. Currently 15 to 20 %
of our energy needs are being met through roof top solar.

5.      
What has been special about working with
U-Solar?

We found that U –Solar is a
professionally competent company. They have been extremely flexible and
understanding in their terms and conditions. They are ready to take up
challenges – one example is the installation of a solar plant with battery
backup in one of our facilities where the EB supply is not available.

6.      
Briefly elaborate on your experience of working
with the U-Solar team.

It has been an extremely good
experience as they have been very proactive. Installation of solar panels is not
very straightforward, it needs lot of deliberation and understanding of the
site conditions. Lot of issues needs to be discussed and agreed upon with the
landlords as all our warehouses are leased properties. U-Solar worked with us
as a team; as a result we covered a lot of headway in a very short time.