Mumbai: India’s only electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd and state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd on Monday signed an agreement to collaborate for a LED installation programme across Mahindra’s 18 manufacturing facilities in India to promote energy efficiency.

In the largest industrial project of its kind in India, 160,000 conventional light bulbs were replaced with LED bulbs, saving Mahindra 20 million electricity units per annum, the company said.

This programme is EESL’s first private sector partnership to promote energy efficiency.

“This partnership marks a very significant step towards promoting an energy efficient lifestyle among corporates and large facilities in India. We look forward to more such collaborations so that they adopt EE (energy efficient) appliances that will help them in reducing operational cost through energy savings," said Saurabh Kumar, managing director, EESL.

Of the two entities, only Mahindra has invested in the project, to the tune of Rs16 crore, even though EESL had offered to finance the programme partly with a pay-as-you-go payback structure. EESL has provided technical assistance and aid with procurement and project management.

Mahindra is expecting an entire payback of Rs16 crore from the programme within a year’s time, according to Pawan Goenka, managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra. The company has only funded sustainability projects having a financial payback higher than the least expected, he said, adding that the project is part of a business strategy towards sustainability.

Overall energy consumption may fall by 8-10%, according to Vijay Kalra, chief of manufacturing operations. In turn, operating costs may fall as well.

The company has also encouraged its dealers, employees and suppliers to switch to LED bulbs, with 16 of 274 interested suppliers having already made the switch.

“As a responsible organization, not only have we adopted energy efficient solutions in our manufacturing facilities but have also encouraged our suppliers, dealer partners and employees to do so, to reduce carbon emission for a cleaner, smarter and greener tomorrow," Goenka said.

This partnership comes three weeks after Mahindra matched Tata Motors Ltd’s bid in an EESL tender to procure 10,000 EVs for the central government and its agencies. Mahindra will supply 150 EVs under the first phase of the tender and is yet to decide on its participation in the second phase, which has not yet been announced.

“Our partnership with Mahindra will have a much larger impact than the EV tender", said Kumar. EESL is in talks with other larger corporates and banks such as HDFC Bank Ltd, State Bank of India, and Dena Bank, to promote energy efficiency, he added.