Coal India to invest over Rs56 B over four years in solar

Coal India Ltd, the world’s largest coal miner, said on Monday it would invest Rs 56.50 billion by March 2024 to build 14 solar projects to help power its mining operations and cut costs.

The state-run company will fund nearly two-thirds of its plan to construct rooftop and ground-mounted solar power projects with a capacity of 3,000 megawatts (MW) with cash.

A joint venture with lignite miner NLC India Ltd would finance the rest of the company’s solar expansion, it said in a statement.

“The solar power initiative helps Coal India Ltd (CIL) reduce its whopping annual power consumption expense,” the firm said, adding that such costs accounted for 4.4% of its annual costs.

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Coal India plans to produce 1 billion tonnes of coal a year by 2023/24. The miner’s output fell for the first time in more than two decades in 2019/20 to nearly 603 million tonnes.

Separately, the miner has set up a joint venture with NTPC Ltd, India’s largest electricity generator, and signed an agreement with Solar Energy Corporation of India for solar projects of 1,000 MW each, it said.

“Besides establishing solar projects, CIL is in discussions with NTPC Limited for purchase of 140 MW solar power,” Coal India said.

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