Airtel Sets Up Its Largest Captive Solar Plant, 21 MW with Avaada

Airtel Sets Up Its Largest Captive Solar Plant, 21 MW with Avaada Date Centres in Israel powered by RE

Telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Tuesday has announced the commissioning of a new 21-megawatt solar power plant in Buldhana district of Maharashtra.

The solar plant, spread over 80 acres, has been set up by Airtel in partnership with Avaada to supply clean energy to Airtel’s Nxtra data centres and switching centres in Maharashtra, the company said in a statement.

“Sustainability is a priority area for Nxtra by Airtel. This is yet another step towards fulfilling our commitment to source more than 50 per cent power requirements of our data centres through renewable energy sources in the next 12 months and contribute to Airtel’s overall GHG emission reduction targets,” Nxtra by Airtel CEO Rajesh Tapadia said. Nxtra by Airtel has already commissioned two captive solar power units of 14 MW each in Uttar Pradesh.

Data centres, with their high power requirements for cooling and running servers, besides the power back ups they require are considered a huge prospect for conversion to green energy.

Airtel claims to have the largest network of data centres in India with 11 large and 120 edge data centres across the country and plans to  invest over Rs 5,000 crore over the next four years to expand its capacity by three times.

Airtel has committed to reducing absolute Scope 1 and 2 Green House Gas (GHG) emissions across its operations by 50.2 per cent by the financial year 2031, considering FY 2021 as the base year. Airtel has also committed to reducing absolute scope 3 GHG emissions by 42 per cent over the same timeframe.

Other key data centre operators, including Jio and Adani Group have also committed to going green with their own initiatives. Globally, firms running large server farms are already pushing for 100% renewable energy to power their centres, from Google to Microsoft.

For firms like Avaada, the corporate PPA segment is a critical, and more viable segment possibly than utility solar today, with large corporates shifting hard towards renewable energy sourcing, to meet their own net zero commitments, or even to qualify for ESG norms that are spreading fast across sectors now.

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