Online marketplace Snapdeal has announced its plans to utilise solar energy as an integral part of its daily operations. A statement from the Gurgaon-based company said that the green initiative will kick off at Snapdeal warehouses which are operated by Vulcan Express. The testing phase is complete at the centres in Gurgaon and Hyderabad and a full-scale roll-out will commence shortly.
In an email, Hardeep Singh, CEO Vulcan Express said, “Energy conservation for us is not only cost savings, but also our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint in various small and big ways. We have strategic relationships with lead vendors in this area and have worked out joint initiatives and innovations. In addition to use of solar power at our centres, we also encourage conservation by optimally planning our delivery routes to reduce fuel wastage.”
Snapdeal currently has almost 3 million sqft of warehousing, a major jump from 1.5 million a year ago. It claims that the fulfilment centres will decrease power consumption by producing nearly 1MW at peak through solar panels and generate 1.5 million units per year. Snapdeal’s attempt to make its warehouses more energy-efficient through auto controllers for lighting systems is the first such initiative among e-commerce businesses in the country.
In addition, sky lights will be used at larger centres, and LED lighting, roof insulation, and HVLS fans will be installed to reduce air conditioning costs. Off-site energy- and fuel-monitoring systems will help closer remote monitoring and system alerts to plug excess consumption and leakages.
Valued at $6.5 billion, Snapdeal had raised $200 million earlier this year. In an obvious effort to regain its past glory – which was hindered by the massive growth of Amazon – Snapdeal has been going all out in marketing. This week, they rebranded with a new logo – at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore.
On the operations side, Snapdeal currently has 69 fulfilment centres spread across 25 cities in India. Six mega logistics hubs were recently opened in Delhi-NCR, Hyderabad, Lucknow, and Kolkata in the run-up to the festive season.
The shift to solar energy — while not helpful in reducing costs beyond a point — could be a sign of the private sector becoming more environmentally responsible. In fact, Snapdeal has about a 2 lakh-sqft capacity across the five fulfilment centres in Haryana where the state government is aiming at 3200 MW of solar power by 2022. A recent study by Mercom Capital Group had estimated that solar power generation in India will likely hit 4.8GW this year. Snapdeal might be paving the way for more efforts in this regard.