According to reports, the Aditya Birla group plans to invest Rs 6,000 crore in solar power business over the next five years as demand for clean energy rises exponentially. The government has set a target of setting up 20 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022.
The $40-billion retail-to-telecom conglomerate has acquired a minority stake in a solar power venture promoted by Electrotherm in Gujarat’s solar park and struck a long-term leasing agreement with Refex Energy in Rajasthan to operate a solar plant at Bithuja in Rajasthan. These units have a capacity to produce 1.55 million units of electricity per mw annually.
“We are getting ready for a large-scale rollout as solar energy holds the potential to replace the conventional sources of energy. It offers a great potential to scale up,” said Dev Bhattacharya, head, strategy, Aditya Birla group.
“We have set a target of $1 billion over the next 5-6 years,” he added. Essel Mining, the unlisted firm owned by Aditya Birla group chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla, is in the process of setting up an independent company as it seeks to develop a capacity of 100 mw over the next 18 months. The group has so far invested a little more than Rs 200 crore to develop 20 mw capacities in solar power.
Ravi Khanna, who joined from global renewable energy major Scandanavian Advanced Technology as CEO of the solar power business, has devised a three-pronged strategy to achieve the target in the first phase. The solar power venture will seek to secure businesses by trading in renewable energy certificates, set up plants which come under renewable power obligations and bid for projects offered under the national solar mission.