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BHEL to invest Rs. 30 billion in solar cell manufacturing plant at Sakoli

Panchabuta was one of the first to mention late January last year that BHEL had finalized an agreement with Abengoa Solar to develop CSP projects in India. Later this was confirmed in February last year 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.

In February last year , BHEL had talked about a  JV with Bharat Electronics Ltd to set up 250MW Solar PV manufacturing facility at a cost of Rs.30-40bn. That initiative is yet to take off.

In the mean while there are reports today that,public sector giant  Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd is planning a huge foray into non-conventional energy equipment.

This would be part of the investment  BHEL is planning at Sakoli which is part Union heavy industries minister Praful Patel’s constituency Bhandara.

Patel told TOI on Tuesday that process for land acquisition through  MIDC for BHEL plant had already begun. It will acquire 500 acres of land. In the first phase, BHEL will set up a fabrication unit at an estimated investment of Rs 1000 crore. Right now the work is done at Trichy unit of BHEL and to increase the capacities, part of the fabrication work will be shifted to Sakoli plant.

The solar cells plant will come up in the second phase. It will involve an investment of Rs 3000 crore, said Patel adding that BHEL would be diversifying into future energy source like solar for the first time. It will also be the first such plant in the country. Patel said the land acquisition would be on the lines of Mouda-NTPC model. The identified land was located on the national highway and is mostly unirrigated with farmers willing to part with it for proper compensation, he said.

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