New Delhi: Bharat Electronics (BEL) and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) are in the process of finalising a joint venture to tap the huge potential in the solar energy sector.
Both the defence PSUs have in principle agreed to form an equal partnership joint venture to set up a polycrystalline silicon manufacturing unit in Bangalore. Polycrystalline silicon is the raw material for manufacturing solar panels.
“Talks with BHEL to set up a polycrystalline silicon manufacturing unit are going on in the right direction,” a BEL official said confirming the negotiations.
“Many details about the nature of collaboration, type of the plant, type of investment etc are yet to be finalised,” he added. Even though he refused to divulge details about the cost of the project, he hinted that an investment of over Rs1000 crore would be required for the project.
BEL, one of India’s leading solar panel manufacturers, plans to produce 2,500 tons per year of polycrystalline silicon from the plant. The defence PSU has been exporting solar products to countries in Africa and Latin America for the last 4-5 years.
The BEL official said that the PSU was looking forward to tapping the potential solar power market in the country. “We think there is a huge potential for solar energy in India and we will be making all efforts to exploit it,” he said.
In India, BEL has supplied tens of thousands of solar home lighting systems and few thousands of street lighting systems to various remote and inaccessible parts in Tripura, villages in Sundarban and Nilgiri.
The recently released National Action Plan on Climate Change had pushed for extensive use of solar energy in the country.
BEL, which was conferred the ‘Navratna’ status last year, has also supplied solar power plants of capacity 5 to 10kws to Chattisgarh and Rajasthan during the last five years.
The company has appointed management consulting firm KPMG to suggest a restructuring plan for BEL so that it can expand its operation.
The defence PSU has recorded a turnover of Rs4,114 crore for the year 2007-08, as against last year’s turnover of Rs3,952 crore.
The company has an order book position of $20 million from foreign countries for the current year.