Wheels India

Client Name: Wheels India

Project Type : Industrial

System Capacity: 1,05,000 Litres per Day (LPD)

Location: Chennai

System Type: ETC System (Radian)

Wheels India – Asia’s first 1 Lakh Litres per Day (LPD) ETC installation

Client Background

Promoted by the TVS Group, one of India’s largest auto component manufacturers, Wheels India, which was established in 1962 is one of largest steel manufacturers in the world. The company has an annual turnover of $ 375 Million (FY 2012-13) and specializes in the car/UV, commercial vehicles, tractors , single piece wheels and construction/earth mover segments.

A partner to various global OEMs like Ford, Hyundai, Tata, Caterpillar, John Deere and more, the Wheels India plant at Padi, Chennai caters to a growing market for forged aluminum wheels worldwide.


Project Background

The automotive component manufacturing processes at the Wheels India plant at Padi, Chennai involve degreasing and hot water washing of conveyorized components for surface treatment purposes. The plant required hot water for the following purposes

  • To provide heat energy equivalent to 115 KW Thermal for circulating hot water at 65 deg C @ 33,000/Liter per hour for hot water spray station
  • To provide heat energy equivalent to 253 KW Thermal for circulating Caustic solution at 75 deg C @ 72,600/Liter per hour for Degreaser
  • To provide heat energy equivalent to 94 KW Thermal for circulating Caustic Solution at 75 deg C @ 27,000/Liter per hour for Degreaser
  • To provide heat energy equivalent to 138 KW Thermal for circulating Caustic Solution at 75 deg C @ 39,600/Liter per hour for Degreaser 2

The existing solution at the plant used a furnace oil fired boiler to achieve these hot water requirements, leading to close to 12,000 Litres of fuel usage per month, translating to around Rs. 5 Lakhs of monthly fuel costs.

Solution Design

The energy audit on the client’s premises yielded a total hot water requirement of 1,05,000 Litres Per Day (LPD), which was translated into a design involving 105 numbers of Evacuated Tube Collector (ETC) type solar thermal modules, that operated using a heat transfer liquid circulatory system.

The overall system design consisted of 105 ETC Solar thermal modules, circulation pump, interconnecting piping with insulation, heat exchanger, valves, sensors, hot-dip galvanized structures on rooftop to support the solar tubes/modules and external piping with insulation to the stations of use, with turnkey installation and commissioning services.

Project Implementation & Client Savings

Post design approval, the project manufacture, delivery, installation and commissioning was turned around in under 6 months, delivering savings to the customer almost instantly.

  • Installing the solar thermal solution saved the client roughly 380 Litres of furnace oil per month, leading to annual savings of Rs. 48 Lakhs by switching to solar.
  • Smart metering in the solution provided the client to track daily/monthly/annual savings on furnace oil and ensure that real time savings were achieved in line with estimations.
  • The installed solar asset was eligible for depreciation claims and helped the client save on income tax during the payback period.
  • Under the central government subsidy scheme, the industrial solar solution was also eligible for a subsidy of Rs. 3000 per sq. m, giving the client a subsidy saving of Rs. 40 Lakhs on the overall cost of project.
  • Once again, the asset lifetime with annual maintenance would exceed 10 years and with a pay back period of under 3 years, the asset became a cash positive investment for the client from 4th year onwards.
  • As on date, the project continues to deliver expected savings for the client with other projects being evaluated in other plants/facilities.


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