Vortex set to install 300 solar ATMs in rural SBI branches

Written by fe Bureau | Chennai | Updated: Mar 13 2010, 04:46am hrs
Chennai-based Vortex Engineering Pvt Ltd has bagged Rs 18-crore deal from the State Bank of India (SBI) to install 545 ATMs in semi-urban and rural India. Out of them, over 300 will be solar-powered, costing less than Rs 3 lakh each and relatively cheaper than conventional ATMs.

"Out of 45,000 ATMs, only 10,000 are located in rural India and there is a huge potential for rural penetration,said V Vijay Babu, CEO & director of Vortex. Speaking on the companys solar-powered Gramateller Duo ATMs, Babu said they consume less than 100 watt of power and do not require air conditioning, and thus, consume less than 72 units per month. Solar ATMs could also help to reduce around 18,500 kg of carbon a year, he added.

Responding to a question on the substantive relative lower cost of solar ATM, he said except for the solar panel, cost reduction was possible due to innovative design engineering of the machine hardware. "We are also keen on export markets and already had enquiries from countries like Dubai", the CEO said. Having IIT Madras as R&D collaborating partner, Bhaskar Ramamurthy of Telecommunications & Computers Networks group (TeNeT) said solar ATM technology under the branch of Mechatronics discipline in engineering, in a way, is a disruptive technology in the energy-efficient delivery of banking services to rural masses. The Rs 30-crore company is jointly funded by PE firms like Oasis Fund (10%), Venture East (10%), Avishkar (10%), Ray Stata of Analog devices (30%), Esops(10%), CTO and founder of the company Kannan holding 30% stakes.