The world’s largest coal mining company is to pursue solar energy and close smaller mines aggressively. Coal India Limited (CIL) plans to invest in a 3,000-megawatt solar energy project with state-run NLC India in a joint venture. The company also plans to compete in India’s solar auctions and win projects by offering the lowest prices for clean power. It marks a significant shift for the firm, which produces most of India’s coal.
The firm’s solar project with NLC India will be worth almost 125bn rupees ($1.73bn; £1.26bn), with CIL expected to invest roughly half of the figure by 2024. The group has closed 82 mines in the last three years and reduced its workforce by 18,600 employees. CIL’s chairman Pramod Agarwal said he expected further reductions to the workforce, with the savings potentially reinvested into solar wafer production.
“Coal as you know, we’re going to lose business in the next two, three decades. Solar will take over (from) coal slowly as a major energy provider in the coming years,” CIL’s chairman Agarwal said in an interview with Reuters.