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HHV plans Rs 60 cr silicon ingots plant in Bangalore

According to reports, Hind High Vacuum Private Limited (HHV), a manufacturer of equipment needed to produce solar modules, is in the process of setting up a silicon ingots and wafers production plant in Bangalore with an investment of around Rs 60 crore, according to chairman Prasanth Sakhamuri.

“We have just started the work on the project, which will act as a pilot plant to demonstrate our capabilities in the manufacture of furnaces to our prospective customers. The plant will have 10 furnaces to begin with, with a total capacity of 60 Megawatt (Mw). We expect to commercialise the plant by early 2013,” he told Business Standard.

Companies including Lanco Solar are already in talks with HHV and are awaiting the proofs-of-concept. The Bangalore-based company is working with French vacuum furnaces firm ECM Technologies for process technologies, he added.

HHV, the first incubation project of the Indian Institute of Science, currently manufactures 30 turnkey lines of crystalline silicon photovoltaic modules a year, each with a capacity of 25 Mw, at its Bangalore plant.

“So far this year, we have sold 12 lines – two in India and the rest in countries like Brazil, Bangladesh, US and Germany – for about $2 million (approximately Rs 10.5 crore) each in tie-up with US-based Spire Corporation,” he said, adding crystalline was not a growing market now and that the future was in thin film technologies.

The over 40-year-old company is currently developing amorphous silicon thin film turnkey lines using the ‘glass-in-and-module-out’ technology. Sakhamuri said the company was looking at manufacturing two turnkey lines this year, each with a capacity of 25 Mw.

HHV has drawn a road map to bring down the cost of module production to 40 cents per watt by 2015, as against the current 80 cents, using the new thin film technology.

“This will be made possible by increasing the efficiency besides making certain material changes in the processes,” he said.

The over Rs 250-crore company has already set up a 10Mw thin film turnkey line demonstration plant in Bangalore and is looking at selling at least one integrated line shortly, according to Sakhamuri.

“We will be delivering one line with a capacity of 25 Mw to a Jaipur-based company for $25 million (around Rs 132 crore) by the end of the current financial year,” he added.

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