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BHEL and BEL firm up JV plans for 250MW Solar PV plant in India

BHEL is the largest engineering enterprise of its kind in India and one of the foremost companies in the international power arena. While its core competence is in the power sector, it also caters to other core sectors like; Industry, Transportation, Transmission, Oil & Gas, Defence and Renewable Energy. Its diverse manufacturing base supported by contemporary and unique manufacturing facilities gives it a competitive edge. With a product portfolio of over 180 products, BHEL has its foot print in over 70 countries.

Panchabuta was one of the first to mention late January that BHEL had finalized an agreement with Abengoa Solar to develop CSP projects in India. Later this was confirmed in February by BHEL that they had joined hands with  Abengoa, Spain, the European leader in solar and other energy-related projects, to develop state-of-the-art Concentrated Solar Power projects in India.

Panchabuta had mentioned in February this year that BHEL was to have a JV with Bharat Electronics Ltd to set up 250MW Solar PV manufacturing facility at a cost of Rs.30-40bn.

According to reports, the Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), the state-owned power equipment major and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), the defence PSU, have firmed up plans to float a joint venture company (JVC) during the present fiscal for setting up an integrated 250 Mw solar photovoltaic modules plant.

They have also shortlisted two locations in Karnataka and one in Andhra Pradesh for setting up the plant at an investment of Rs 2,000 crore, a top BHEL official said.

“We have shortlisted a place in Kolar district and a place near Bangalore and another place near Hyderabad for setting up the proposed solar photovoltaic plant. However, the board of directors of both BHEL and BEL are yet to give the final approval for the proposal.

The board of BHEL will meet this quarter to take a final call on this matter,” G Ganapathiraman, executive director, BHEL (EDN & ISG) told Business Standard.

The proposed JVC, besides export, will cater to Indian solar products requirements.

The integrated plant will manufacture polysilicon ingots, wafers, solar cells, PV modules and panel systems.

A joint working group set up by both the companies is presently in talks with several overseas companies in the solar PV sector for a possible technology-cum-investment tie up.

The deal is likely to be finalised during the present financial year, he said.

The project will be a backward integration for BHEL as it already manufactures solar PV modules in its Bangalore complex. “The final location will be selected based on the availability of adequate water and power for the plant as it is a power-intensive industry,” he said.

BHEL presently makes silicon modules from wafers. Its product range includes power semiconductor devices, grid interactive, hybrid and standalone PV power plants, space grade solar panels and space quality batteries.

The proposed joint venture will be the first such major facility for manufacturing raw material for solar panels by BHEL and BEL together.

The company would mainly sell the solar systems to government agencies that are engaged in the popularisation of solar energy beside exports.

Presently, BEL exports solar cells to Germany, France and Italy among others. BHEL also exports solar modules to countries such as Germany, Australia and Italy.

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