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BHEL to foray into solar in big way

According to reports, power utility major BHEL has firmed up renewed plans for a big presence in renewable energy, especially solar energy. It wants to play a significant role in establishing ultra mega solar photovoltaic plants of 1000 MW each.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had unveiled plans to create 4000 MW of solar power by setting up 4×1000 MW solar units on the lines of thermal ultra mega power projects. The average per MW cost of solar energy is upwards of Rs 7.5 crore.

BHEL, along with Hindustan Salts, Power Grid Corporation, Solar Energy Corporation and Sutlej Jal Vidyug Nigam are forming a consortium to take up this challenge. The initial plants are expected to come up in Gujarat and Rajasthan, where Hindustan Salts owns a considerable land bank, said B. Prasada Rao, Chairman and Managing Director.

Another major initiative that BHEL is trying to accelerate is the setting up of the 500 MW capacity plant to produce silicon wafers. The project entails an investment of around Rs 2,700 crore. BHEL is hoping to get up to 40 per cent project funding from the National Clean Energy Fund. The union project has been cleared by the inter-ministerial group and will be taken up shortly, Prasada Rao told Business Line in a recent interview here.

BHEL has been involved in solar energy research and small projects for sometime. There has been slow progress due to various factors related to technology and costs, but now “we are confident of growing big, especially in India, which has many small players”, he said.

The utility is looking at States which give competitive incentives to take up solar projects and go there in the near future.

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