The first EPZ (Export Processing Zone) in Asia was setup in 1965, in Kandla, Gujarat. Since then, over 170 SEZs (Special EconomicZones) have been set up in the country, contributing to billions of dollars ofexport earnings and creating close to a million jobs. The objectives of setting
up SEZs remain broadly the same:  to generate more economic activity,
export earnings, job opportunities and foreign investments.  With over 600
more SEZs approved by the Government, this sector is poised for enormous growth
in the coming years.

The intensive energy needs of SEZs form a strong
challenge for the Government, as high service levels have to be maintained in
terms of energy availability, balanced with the Government’s obligation to
continue to provide power for residential, institutional and commercial
consumers in the domestic tariff areas, i.e. outside the SEZs. To address the
objectives of sustainability as well as lesser energy dependence of SEZs, in
2009, the Government established draft guidelines for “Green Special Economic
The Guidelines stated that at least 25% of the external lighting load
should be solar powered and that each SEZ has to install a solar power system
to generate a minimum of 50 kilowatt per hectare The plan never came into
effect and was shelved two years later. 

 In these circumstances, it is indeed an excellent and
most heartening development that a leading SEZ has proactively made the
decision to install a massive captive solar PV power plant to provide clean
energy to its occupants.

Shriram Gateway, a 58 acre SEZ project at
Chennai with 6 million sq.ft. of IT/ITES SEZ offices and about 2.5 million
sq.ft. of residential development, has commissioned a 700 KWp solar PV power
plant, designed and implemented by U-Solar Clean Energy Solutions using the Build
Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) model
 To avoid the steep initial cost of installing such
a huge rooftop solar power plant, the SEZ has signed long term PPAs (15 to 25
years) with different third party energy companies. The plant has been
installed with solar modules from different manufacturers like
Waree Energies ltd, Shan Solar & CNPV Power SA along with grid connected
inverters from SMA  & DELTA.

The 700 kW system has been installed on six block (A1,
A6, B1, B6, B4 & B5). The first 400
kW was commissioned on A1, A6, B1 & B6 in October 2014 and the latest 300
kW installation has been commissioned on Building B4 & B5 in March 2015. The
SEZs pays a monthly bill to the energy companies for the metered solar power.
The following model offers no high upfront capital expenditure, maintenance and
operations are the responsibility of the EPC, unit price of solar is below grid
price and the power plant is transferred after the duration of PPA. Apart from
this, the rooftop solar PV system helps reduce vast diesel consumption from
generators as well as power consumption from the grid for operation of the facility. 

With clients like Accenture, Mahindra Satyam, Mobius,
Sybrant, Redington, Take and Trianz now poised to run integral parts of their
global operations from Shriram Gateway using clean solar energy, it is indeed
an important milestone in the growth story of SEZs in India.

Congratulations to Shriram
Gateway for becoming India’s first green SEZ, and giving the nation a green
golden jubilee of the EPZ-SEZ initiative! 

We at U-Solar are proud to be
part of this important milestone. Go Solar!!