World's Largest Coal Company To Use Solar Power In Bid To Cut Energy Costs

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Solar Panels by Flickr user Chandra Marsono

Solar Panels by Flickr user Chandra Marsono

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It's perfectly reasonable to be skeptical when an alternative energy organization says we should move away from fossil fuels, and likewise reasonable to be skeptical when the fossil fuel industry says we have nothing to worry about.

But when the world's largest coal producer turns to solar power admid concerns its coal reserves won't last much longer, people start to take notice.

That's exactly what Coal India is doing, according to dna India--and it'll also invest in solar to cut its own energy costs.

It'd almost be funny if the message behind it wasn't so serious. You can almost imagine the "Actually, coal isn't all that great, says coal company" headlines.

But as Coal India officials meet with prospective bidders to decide on suitable solar technology, the company's bid document succinctly tells the story.

"India has an abundance of sunshine and the trend of depletion of fossil fuels is compelling energy planners to examine the feasibility of using renewable sources of energy like solar, wind, and so on," it reads.

Essentially, Coal India isn't confident the country's coal supplies will last much longer, and wants to get into renewable energy sooner, rather than later.

The move isn't without other incentives though, the country's new and renewable energy ministry offering tariff-based incentives for solar photovoltaic-based power generation.

Coal India is initially looking into a 2 megawatt solar farm, located on 9 acres of land owned by the company. The farm could then be scaled up as required. The firm is also looking into solar panels to reduce costs at its mining research arm in Ranchi.

It's all in the brainstorming stage right now to plan out the gritty details, with nothing yet confirmed.

But one of the world's biggest coal companies saying coal is no longer the only answer? It's hard to remain skeptical about that...


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Comments (7)
  1. Well, India certainly have great solar energy potential. Way more than China due to its close distance to the equator. But at the end of the day, energy company is there to make money. If it makes $ense, they could care less if it is fossil or solar.

  2. Kudos to the INdian Coal company and I hope American coal companies follow its example soon.

  3. If India has the same level of govt subsidies for solar that we do, I wouldn't doubt that the company will save money - at the expense of the taxpayers. India the nation is very actively involved, lke China is pursuing a real energy solution, a closed cycle nuclear program. When people realize that a modern Gen 3 nuclear plant is far safer than solar power and twice as cheap, and requires 50 to 100 acres of land, as opposed to the 80,000 acres required by solar to produce the same amount of uncontrolled, low value solar power, we can expect to see the same thing happen in India as Germany solar power discarded in favor of something else (coal in Germany).

  4. As long as you don't mind a nuclear plant in your back yard cause I certainly don't want one anywhere near mine. I am quite happy to have and subsidize solar.

  5. "When people realize that a modern Gen 3 nuclear plant is far safer than solar power and twice as cheap"

    So, I don't mind having solar farms nearby or solar panels on their roof, but I seriously doubt that most people would tolerate "your version of the nuclear plant" in their neighborhood...

    With that said, some nations in the far northern location doesn't have much solar potential. So, it won't work for them. But for those who have solar potential, there is no reason NOT to...

  6. One solution for all, leading to nuclear in the sahara desert, or solar at the Arctic circle, solutions are not the best of ideas. Kent has a point though regarding the safety of nuclear power. There are a lot of falls from roofs while installing solar panels. Though falling from a five story cooling tower at a nuclear generating station would be no picnic either.

  7. I thought this was an April fools article...


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