The Maharatna PSU has switched its LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) bottling plant at Leh, the headquarters of the country’s largest district by area, from diesel generating set to an on-site 100 kw (kilo watt) solar power plant built at cost of over Rs 1 crore.
Essentially a frontier town situated at an elevation of 11,500 feet, Leh has turned into a major tourist attraction during the summer but is not connected...
to the national power grid. State-run utility PowerGrid has established a transmission line for wheeling power from a 45 MW hydel plant at Alchi, about 75 km from Leh, but supply remains patchy.
As the plant needs uninterrupted power all through the year, IOC has been running the plant on generators, burning 45,000 litres of diesel annually. Solar power will help avoid emission and help in air quality management.
The bottling plant is the energy lifeline for lakhs of soldiers and civil population, especially in the long, harsh winter when the two road links remain blocked and temperature often drops to minus 30 degrees centigrade.
During such tough times, IOC keeps home fires burning by supplying refills, estimated at more than 2.5 lakh domestic cylinders of 14.2 Kg. In addition, 2,215 small cylinders of 5 Kg and over 8,000 refills of 19 Kg to commercial establishments are also supplied. The plant gets its annual LPG stock in tanker-trucks in the short summer when the roads are open.
The construction of the solar power plant was hampered by weather when an avalanche blocked a truck carrying vital parts at Zoji La, the gateway to Ladakh from Srinagar in December last year and remained stuck through the icy winter. The parts were moved once the road opened this year and the plant was built in 45 days.
India's biggest refiner has initiated a slew of measures to reduce carbon footprints. The PSU has set a target of running 10,000 retail outlets on solar power.
Earlier, in June 2015, IOC opened a new solar shop in Leh. The shop is located at 11,500 feet from the sea level.The PSU had commissioned the world's highest retail outlet in Leh -Lotus Xangpo memorial filling station -operated by solar power. Besides cutting greenhouse gas emissions, “the solar power generation system enabled the retail outlet to save about Rs 30,000 per month.
The PSU installed a solar power generation system at the petrol pump situated at 11,500 feet above sea level to replace polluting diesel generator.
Besides cutting greenhouse gas emissions, "the solar power generation system enables the retail outlet to save about Rs 30,000 per month.
The investment in the solar power system would be recovered in about 18 months.
IOC already has two other solar-powered retail outlets operating at Choglamsar and the Leh-Manali road in Ladakh region. But both are at a slightly lower altitude than Leh.
These outlets operate under extreme weather conditions, with temperature falling 25 degrees below freezing point during winters and thin oxygen density. But the solar systems function smoothly as the region gets bright sunlight due to dry weather conditions for most part of the year.
The PSU is using solar power to light up its petrol pumps across the country. Till March 31, 1,398 new outlets were solarized, taking the total tally to 2,663.
IOC plans to add another 1,500 petrol pumps and Kisan Seva Kendras in the current financial year and envisions touching 5,000 solar-powered outlets by 2017-18 and 10,000 by 2022.
IOC has 24,405 petrol pumps and 6,230 rural outlets called Kisan Seva Kendras.