Su-Kam’s Solar Outreach In India’s Defense Landscape

Su-Kam has installed over 1.3 MW of Solar Power PV Systems at various North Eastern locations of Assam Rifles – Indian Army

The Assam Rifles Project was the 1st project undertaken by Su-Kam in powering up the headquarters of the Indian Army in the North East region of the country. The lack of adequate power supply at these remote locations had increased the dependence of the Army on cumbersome sources of power back up solutions like diesel generator sets with huge dependence on non-renewable sources of fuel like diesel.

Non-availability of adequate grid supply and poor quality & reliability of the same prompted the authorities of Assam Rifles to take up the alternate route of utilizing solar power solutions for their energy needs. The authorities realized that tapping renewable sources of energy was the only alternative way of tackling the twin problems of widening power deficits and mounting carbon emissions.

About The Project
The Assam Rifles solar project is a landmark project in the history of solar business at Su-Kam. The project was awarded to Su-Kam through Rajasthan Electronics and Instrument Limited (REIL).
The project required Su-Kam to supply, install, commission and maintain off-grid solar power systems at various remote Assam rifles base locations in Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram & Assam.
Site Details
18 sites in North East India including remote locations in Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, Mizoram & Assam.
Details of The Solar Installation
Off Grid solar power systems with a total capacity of 1.3 MW with battery back-up have been installed by Su-Kam for Assam Rifles at various locations in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram & Tripura. Out of the 18 sites, 50 KWp solar installations have been made at each of the 10 sites with the remaining 8 sites having an installed capacity of 100 KWp at each of the sites. All the plants have been installed under MNRE subsidy scheme as per Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in India.

The 1st phase of the project which required Su-Kam to install 500 KWp of off grid solar power systems at 10 sites was completed in December 2012. Su-Kam completed the second phase installation of 800 KWp capacity of off grid solar power systems at additional 8 sites in March 2014.
Complete Project Installation and Maintenance By Su-Kam
Su-Kam has used high quality; best-in-class solar products that include Su-Kam make Solar Inverters, Charge Controllers, Tubular Gel batteries and Advanced Remote Monitoring Software for the Assam Rifles project. All the solar power plants installed by Su-Kam for Assam Rifles are up and running successfully.

Su-Kam’s team of engineers are maintaining these sites regularly. Su-Kam’s highly advanced Remote Monitoring Software also enables the team to detect any problem in the system from a faraway location in real time. Therefore, in case of any breakdown in the system, Su-Kam’s highly efficient & dedicated service team is able to attend to the complaint within 48 hrs even in remote sites.

In addition to the above, Su-Kam had also taken initiatives in employing local personnel at these sites and trained them in installation, commissioning and upkeep of the solar power plants. The trained personnel have also been posted at these areas to maintain the set up in these sites now.
Benefits From The Solar Installation
The installation of solar PV power systems at these remote locations of the Assam Rifles has enabled them to draw huge benefits from the same:
  • Huge Savings - As most of these sites were running on fuel guzzling & bulky diesel generator sets, the solar PV systems have brought down the dependence of these sites on generator sets thereby reducing the cost of diesel consumption by 50% of the initial cost of procurement and actual cost of the fuel!
  • Reduced dependence on grid supply - Drastic reduction of dependence of these sites on intermittent electricity supplied from the grid
  • Regulated use of power - The Solar PV system provides power to a dedicated load thereby avoiding use of DG sets which cannot be regulated for a fixed power supply according to the requirement. This regulation in turn helps in saving precious fuel
  • Noiseless, Pollution free & Eco-Friendly power
  • Use of high frequency components for higher output - Though the Solar Irradiance level in the North East Region of India is lower (Insolation level - 3.5 ) than that of other parts of the country (Insolation level - 4.5 - 5), the Su-Kam team used High Efficiency solar components in the systems which are running successfully and giving optimum output
  • Power Saving for other applications - The Solar PV plant helps in saving conventional energy & fossil fuels thereby more conventional energy can be made available for other applications
  • Reducing the Carbon Footprint - The utilization of the renewable source of energy of the sun is also contributing towards a greener environment
Challenges Faced
Installing a workable solar power plant at these remote locations of Assam Rifles was a challenging task for the Su-Kam project team. The sites were remote and logistical as well as management challenges were immense. The rugged terrains, unavailability of trained manpower and lack of proper communication devices were other challenges in the area.

Proper project and manpower planning was of utmost importance and so was the team spirit as several parties in the past had come back from the area without completing their projects. Su-Kam employed its expertise in installation of initial projects closer to the capital city of Imphal. The learning from the initial project locations were then applied to the latter locations.

However, despite a plethora of challenges faced, the Su-Kam team was successful in installing the solar power systems at the 18 remote locations of the Assam Rifles.

Following is a detailed account of the various challenges faced by the Su-Kam team during the project’s installation:
  • Site development - Due to the hilly and rough terrains, it was a huge challenge for the Su-Kam team to develop the sites to make them feasible for solar PV Installation as the solar panels required to be placed at specific orientations to derive maximum power from the sun. The team stayed in the tough army camps for the complete duration of the project to develop the site for solar PV installation like making space in the dense vegetation, levelling the ground, setting up of control rooms for monitoring etc.
  • Transportation – Raw material transportation was a big challenge as all the sites were at remote locations & the roads were not in well maintained or good conditions. Taxis were also not readily available for carrying raw materials. This caused breakage of PV panels while transportation & shortage of other equipments. If any related materials had to be purchased locally, the cost for the same was 5-6 times higher than the original cost.
  • Communication Problems - Due to unavailability of mobile network at various sites, it was not easy to communicate with other members of the team. The team also had to face language problems while interacting with the local populace at these sites
  • Inhospitable Weather Conditions - Civil work was affected severely due to continuous rain. However, in order to complete the project within the stipulated time, the team had to work on the field even though it was raining heavily
  • Unavailability of Trained Manpower- Unavailability of trained manpower was also a major problem in these regions & labour cost was also high. The Su-Kam team therefore hired 5 Service Engineers locally & provided them with proper training. Now, these trained personnel are responsible for maintenance of these sites.
  • Local insurgency - All the sites were situated at hilly and remote locations surrounded by local goons and trouble makers who disturbed the incoming traffic by demanding money from travellers. Many locations in Manipur & Assam remained closed for at least 2 days a week due to ethnic riots, local & political issues making it difficult to move from one site to another.
Why Chose Su-Kam’s Solar Products, Services & Solutions
  • Rated SP-1A Grade twice in a row by CRISIL which represents the highest performance capability and the highest financial strength for undertaking solar projects
  • MNRE has approved rating given by CRISIL to Su-Kam for its Off-grid Solar Projects capability
  • A wide and diverse solar product range to its credit; over 120+ solar products out of which many have been introduced for the first time in India
  • In House R & D recognised by Govt. Of India which develops products by utilising indigenous technology keeping the Indian customer and his requirements in mind
  • 1000 + crores turnover in financial year 2012-13
  • Large & diverse sales & service network across India & 70 countries worldwide
  • Well trained and dedicated Solar Project Team which comprises of experts in the field of solar, engineers & technicians who are able to draw out detailed engineering plans to install and commission many such projects in diverse conditions
  • Ability to implement several projects concurrently
  • Experience of Installation of over 20 MWp of Solar Rooftop Projects pan India
  • Su-Kam is till date, the largest provider of solar powered back-up solution in North East India. The company has till date installed back-up solutions to the capacity of over 1 MW here, the largest in the region
  • The company has successfully commissioned projects for TEDA, CREST, TREDA, UPNEDA, ANERT etc.