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Mahindra Plans to Double Solar Contracts in South India

A unit of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., India’s biggest sports utility-vehicle maker, plans to almost triple solar capacity by adding plants in the state of Tamil Nadu where a power deficit is spurring clean-energy investment.

The company’s Mahindra EPC Services unit expects to add 150 megawatts of solar capacity in the state over the next 18 months, Basant Jain, the unit’s chief executive officer, said by phone yesterday. Mahindra EPC has already designed and installed 80 megawatts of photovoltaic plants in India as the contractor for solar investors.

It comes after the unit built 3.3 megawatts of solar projects in Tamil Nadu for a group of five auto component makers, generating cheaper power than the electricity supplied by the state utility, Jain said from Chennai. Power from the solar plants will be injected into the grid and the companies can draw down an equivalent amount of electricity at their auto component factories.

“The structure is very innovative,” Jain said. The projects for the auto component makers in Tamil Nadu are generating power at 5 rupees (8 cents) a kilowatt-hour, compared with the 5.5 rupees for electricity from the state grid, Jain said.

The projects located at Aruppukottai used Chinese panels from Chint Group Corp. The five auto component makers are M.M. Forgings Ltd., Auto Forge Pvt. Ltd., I.M. Gears, the Rane Group and Autotech Industries (India) Pvt.

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