South Eastern Coalfields Ltd (SECL), one of the largest coal-producing subsidiaries of Coal India Ltd, will be developing rooftop and ground mounted solar power projects of 600 MW capacity in the coming years as part of the company’s strategy to expand and diversify its business and achieve the “Net Zero Energy” goal. The strategy is in line with the larger goal of “Panchamrit” announced by Prime Minster Shri Narendra Modi at CoP-26 to achieve Net Zero Emissions by 2070. SECL, the Miniratna PSU, is planning to develop the above projects at a cost of more than Rs.1000 crores. Some of these projects would be implemented in RESCO (Renewable Energy Service Company)/BOO (Build-Own-Operate) mode.
Solar power projects of more than 180 MW are already in various phases of development in the operational areas of SECL spread over Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. It has recently commissioned rooftop solar projects of 580 kWp capacity in Johilla, Jamuna-Kotma and Kusmunda Areas.
At Johilla Area, the commissioned capacity is about 280 kWp which is the highest capacity rooftop solar project in the entire company. Solar panels have been installed at Administrative Building GM office, SECL-run Kendriya Vidyalaya, Regional Hospital and at Area’s Guesthouse. The project will generate about 4,20,000 units of electricity saving about Rs 21 lakh annually in power expenditure.
The largest two solar projects under implementation are of 40 MW capacity each. A 40 MW ground mounted, grid connected solar PV plant is being developed on company’s own land in Bhatgaon and Bishrampur areas located in Chattisgarh’s Surajpur district. The project is at execution stage and likely to be commissioned during this fiscal. The management is also working on a project report for installation of another 40 MW ground mounted solar PV plant in Johilla area in Madhya Pradesh. SECL has also floated a tender for a 4 MW rooftop solar project and installation feasibility of a floating solar power plant at Sharda OC mine in Sohagpur Area in Madhya Pradesh is also being explored.
Coal India Ltd has set an ambitious target of achieving net-zero status by installing 3000 MW capacity renewable energy projects by 2026 as part of a broader plan to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and move towards a more sustainable future. Recently Coal India has teamed up with Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Limited (SJVNL) to explore potential sites for pumped storage power (PSP) projects within its abandoned mines.
It may be recalled that SECL contributed around one-fourth of CIL’s total coal production in FY 2022-23. It is promoting renewable energy to reduce the carbon footprint of coal mining and move towards the goal of net zero carbon emissions. With the power generated from the above projects, the company is striving to balance its power needs for coal mining and allied activities.