Robintex Group, a Germany-Bangladesh joint venture, renowned for its continued efforts towards sustainability, has taken yet another bold initiative by the installation of a 3.2 MWp rooftop solar array on their 11 buildings. This green project, reportedly Bangladesh’s largest industrial solar rooftop project commissioned by the Fiscal Year 2020-21, partnered with Joules Power Ltd (JPL), demonstrated Robintex’s prowess and farsightedness towards going green by offsetting 81,446 tons of carbon in 20 years, adding another feather to their green crown.
Textile Today Factory Tales team has recently visited this mega project and made an exclusive endeavor to learn all the core information about the project-its working procedure, environmental and financial impacts to quench your curiosity.
Why Robintex is eyeing on renewable energy?
Two broader reasons are working behind the adoption of renewable energy by Robintex Group which encircle the business and the environmental aspects. Robin Razon Sakhawat, the Director of Robintex Group explained, “The reasons for choosing solar energy are plenty.
Number one, it has a clear business prospect. In our country, electricity is still very unstable. We have a lot of load cuts. Moreover, the electricity price is unstable. It can increase at any time.”
About the environmental aspect, Robin said, “Using solar energy, we are saving the environment. We are reducing CO2 emission and saving energy!” Keeping these aspects in mind, Robintex has taken the initiative to install rooftop solar panels of 3.2 MWp which will meet almost 50% of their daily demand.
Robintex is reducing at least 40% of their GHG emission
Adopting solar energy, a pure, clean, and renewable power from the sun, reduces Carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, which enables Robintex to join hands with the green army to ensure environmental sustainability. With their mega solar power plant, they expect to reduce GHG emission at least by 40% and offset 81,446 tons of carbon during the plant’s 20 years of operation.
The project aligns Robintex with Bangladesh Government Power system Master plan-2016 and COP-26 goal and boosts the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ brand
The Power System Master Plan- 2016 (PSMP) aims at assisting Bangladesh in formulating extensive energy and power development plan up to the year 2041. The fourth viewpoint of PSMP-2016 is “Maximization of green energy and promotion of its introduction” where Robintex is playing a contributory part.
Moreover, one of the four key areas of COP 26 is- countries participating in the COP close the gap between the current carbon emissions trajectory.
Abdullah Al Masum, Vice President and H.O.D., Compliance & IE, Robintex Group, said, “According to the national plan of Bangladesh Government, there is a commitment to reduce the carbon emission to a significant level. This target has come from the world’s largest summit- The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Their set goal is to reduce the carbon emission to such extent that limits warming to 1.5 degree celsius within 2030.”
Masum added “Offsetting carbon emission can help us to get aligned with the business partners globally,” which undoubtedly helps to boost the ‘Made in Bangladesh’ brand and achieve the country’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The role of Joules Power Ltd. (JPL) in the project
Joules Power Ltd. (JPL), the owner of the largest national grid-connected solar power plant of 20MW (AC) capacity inaugurated in 2018, is the OPEX partner where they have a 20 years Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Robintex Group. They are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the solar panels on Robintex’s rooftops. Their engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) partner is India’s Mahindra Susten.
About choosing JPL, Robin said, “We are textile producers, not specialists in solar energy. So, for us it was very important to work with a company that has proven expertise in this kind of field.”
“JPL’s overall commitment gave us the confidence that they will be the best partner for us,” he added.
OPEX model: no headache for the factory owners
OPEX is a zero-investment model where the solar panels are installed on the customer’s roof or premises with the service provider company’s own capital. The customer only pays for the electricity supplied to it under the long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). According to the agreement, JPL has installed the whole solar set up with their own investment and they are selling the generated electricity to Robintex according to pre-agreed prices.
Moreover, there is no operational hassle for Robintex, rather JPL, the OPEX partner, is responsible for operation and maintenance. If no electricity is generated, there is no payment.
20% direct cost saving for Robintex
Md. Nahiduzzaman, Senior Analyst of Joules Power Ltd. said, “Robintex is purchasing the electricity from us and their main source which is Bangladesh Rural Electrification Board (REB). Compared to that utility, we can propose Robintex almost 20% lower tariff from where they are making 20% direct saving.”
Regarding the way they charge bills, Nahiduzzaman elaborated, “Just like REB generates electricity bills every month according to the factory’s electricity consumption, we also charge against the units of electricity consumed by Robintex generated by the solar panel every month. The unit is not set on stone. Only our produced and factory’s consumed units will be paid by Robintex. No extra money will be charged.”
Abdullah Al Masum, Vice President and H.O.D., Compliance & IE, Robintex Group, said, “It is a win-win situation for both the parties. The service providers are taking the profit, at the same time the company is also getting the electricity cost at a certain percentage less.“
Some details about the solar power plant
When asked about the solar power plant, Md. Nahiduzzaman, Senior Analyst, Joules Power Ltd. shared some vital information. He said, “There is no fossil fuel here. That is why the power plant is totally environmentally friendly. The major raw material in the power plant is solar panel which is imported from China and we have used total 11 sheds and total number of panels are 5933. As a result, the total area of the panels is almost around 15,000 square metres.”
|Table 1: Technical specifications. Source: Joules Power Ltd. (JPL)|
|Supplier/Company Name:||Joules Power Limited|
|Type of Operation||OPEX|
|Total No of building/shed used||11|
|Plant Capacity||3.2 MWp|
|Total no. of Panel Used||5933|
|Total Roof top Area Used||15763.245 m^2 ( Approximate)|
|Per panel Capacity||545 KWp|
|Panel size||2.681 m^2|
|Inverter type||Grid Tied|
|Total No of inverters||26|
|Per Inverter Capacity||110 KW|
Nahiduzzaman also elucidated the flow of the current. He said, “The generated current is in DC, but as we consume AC current, we use the inverter. The inverter converts the DC current to AC current. Then that usable AC power gets converted into DV. From this DV, it goes to Robintex’s DV and then Robintex consumes that power.”
Though we call solar energy simple, operational maintenance has some complexities and hassles. That is why it has to be maintained by the experts. Many industry owners have invested following the CAPEX model but at the end of the day, their efficiency falls down to 50%-60%. Nahiduzzaman said, “But in OPEX model’s case, the least amount of efficiency has to be more than 80%. Otherwise, without producing enough electricity, we won’t make a profit and can’t sustain.”
That is why operational maintenance is paramount and done by JPL very strictly and meticulously. They have to perform scheduled maintenance for the panels, inverters, all the other parts of the plant along with proper synchronization.
Panel warranty issues
According to Nahiduzzaman, “The replacement warranty from panel manufacturer is 12 years and performance warranty is 25 years.”
“Our agreement is for 20 years. We will operate and maintain these plants for 20 years. After 20 years the running panels will be handed over to Robintex. Though the operational warranty is 25 years, we expect them to be functional for 30 years,” he said.
As always, sustainability has been high on Robintex’s agenda and the initiative of utilizing their rooftop space is a brainchild of their continual green initiatives. In this time of energy scarcity and the endless craving for approaching sustainability, Robintex is meeting up 3.2 MW of their total 6 MW daily electricity consumption using clean renewable energy, offsetting their carbon footprint to a great extent which is undeniably an example of best practice for other textile factories. Canadian film director James Cameron once said, “The nation that leads in renewable energy will be the nation that leads the world.”
So, with such a mega initiative partnered with Joules Power Ltd. (JPL), Robintex is not only paving the way for other factories, they are trailblazing the country to lead the world and uphold the ‘made in Bangladesh’ brand.
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