Yash Birla Group to make silicon wafers, solar cells

Yash Birla Group to make silicon wafers, solar cells

Mumbai: Yash Birla Group said on Thursday group firm Birla Surya Ltd will invest 5,400 crore over five years to set up an integrated facility for fabrication of multi-crystalline silicon wafers and solar photovoltaic cells.

The first phase of the project located in Satara district of Maharashtra state will involve an investment of 1,493 crore, funded through a debt of 970 crore, the group said in a statement.

“It is a 10-year tenure loan with average interest rate of 14.5%," P.V.R. Murthy, group director, told reporters.

State Bank of India , Punjab National Bank and Life Insurance Corp of India are among 11 lenders for the first phase of the project that will begin commercial production by December, Birla Surya’s chief executive officer, Mohan Datari, said.

Hong Kong-based Asia Pacific Capital will invest $15 million as private equity in the project and has got 15 percent stake in the firm, Datari said.

The firm is eyeing revenue of 8 billion rupees by fiscal 2012-13 and there were no plans for further equity dilution in the curent project, Murthy said.

It aims to make 60 megawatts (MW) of multi-crystalline solar photovoltaic cells and 125 MW of multi-crystalline silicon wafers in a year, it said in a statement.

Yash Birla Group, which has interests in automobile and engineering, textiles and chemicals, education and information technology, wellness and lifestyle is exploring opportunities in the other segments of solar power generation, Chairman Yashovardhan Brila told reporters.