Solar Energy in India has the potential to be one of the biggest opportunities in the Energy Sector in the 21st Century.The government’s strong backing through JNNSM and India’s favorable location for Solar Energy is a win-win combination.This coupled with India’s huge energy deficit and scorching growth makes it a no-brainer investment.A number of Indian private companies like Energy Giant Reliance have already made plans to enter into the Solar Space.India’s large State Run Companies have also started firming up their plan in this Green Energy segment.Oil companies like IOC,ONGC,Power Utilities like NTPC and Capital Goods companies like BHEL have all announced big ticket investments into Solar.
PSU Companies Solar Plans
India has a huge state run Oil and Gas Sector.Most of India’s Oil and Gas sector is in the hands of a few massive government owned companies like ONGC,OIL,IOC,HPCL and BPCL.Like China’s Oil and Gas giants like PetroChina,Sinopec and CNPC India’s Energy companies are constrained by government mandated price controls . However these state run companies are starting to become more independent as the government partially deregulates the Energy Sector despite massive protests.With Indian goverment making a strong commitment towards Solar Energy,these companies have followed suit.
NTPC and BHEL lead the charge
India’s largest utility NTPC is leading the way planning large solar capacities on its own.Note NTPC with around 30 GW of power generation capacity is India’s largest power utility by far and through its trading arm will play a vital role in proving subsidies to solar power generation.BHEL which is India’s largest Capital Good makers is the other company with the big solar ambitions.BHEL has strong capabilities in the field of making electricity generating equipment.Extending these capabilities in the field of solar power generation is a natural extension.It is following the JV route with various other Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) like HPCL,BEL and IOC to build power plants and solar equipment factories in the country
State-run NTPC has decided to add around 301 mw of solar power by March 2014, taking a year more than the national solar mission’s target of achieving 1300 mw of solar generation by 2013.Chandan Roy, director, operations, told FE that although NTPC’s solar capacity addition was not on the account of the projects being allotted by the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) for the first phase of the national solar mission, “the MNRE is likely to take into account.NTPC’s solar power projects in its national solar mission target”.“NTPC, as a Navaratna company, can take its own decision to spin off projects and it is only the NTPC board that needs to approve new ventures,” Roy said.
Flagship refiner-marketer IndianOil Corporation is setting up a grid-linked solar power plant worth about Rs 100 crore at Barmer in Rajasthan, even as the state-run firm sharpens focus on non-conventional energy sources in an attempt to supplement fossil fuels earnings with carbon credits and move towards a green future.
Sources said IndianOil will set up the plant as an equal venture with government-run power equipment manufacturer Bhel. The plant will be set up on a parcel of land belonging to the oil company’s marketing division, while Bhel will supply the panels and other paraphernalia. Most of the electricity generated from the plant will be sold to the general grid, while some quantity may be used for captive use.
Not content with being Asia’s biggest oil and gas exploration company, the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation is exploring avenues to wrench a share out of the solar and nuclear power sectors.Announcing this here the ONGC CMD, R.S. Sharma, said the company had a vision to graduate into a real-time energy organisation and not remain merely an oil and gas company as the hydro carbon reserves were limited and bound to dry out in the near future. “We would like to end the dependence of the nation on other countries for our nuclear needs and have already signed an MoU with the Uranium Corporation of India to venture into the nuclear energy sector”, he said.
Emphasising on the vast solar energy potential of India, Mr Sharma said the ONGC was in touch with major foreign solar energy companies to tap the solar power sector in a big way.
The company has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state-owned Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) to set up the power plant, involving the cost of INR 220-225 million) USD 5.2 million to 5.3 million on build operate and own (BOO) basis at Lalru in Mohali, within the next 8-10 months.
The two PSUs are working out the modalities to form a new joint venture company with equal equity participation for setting up a series of solar photo-voltaic based power plants across the country.Stating that the modalities of the JV arrangement are being worked out, a senior HPCL official said the plan is to begin with the development of a 25 MW capacity solar power project costing Rs 350 crore by 2012.The two companies plan to scale up their solar power capacity plans to 100 MW by 2015 and to 1000 MW by 2020, the official said. “The board of HPCL deliberated this proposal at its last board meeting. Some more details for the company’s foray into non-fossil fuels with BHEL have been sought by the board,” he added.
To produce 2,500 tonnes of polysilicon used in solar panels.City-based public sector undertaking (PSU), Bharat Electronics (BEL), said it is planning a major investment in the solar energy space in a tie-up with another PSU, Bharat Heavy Electricals (Bhel).BEL is in the process of setting up a greenfield facility to produce 2,500 tonnes of polycrystalline silicon (also known as polysilicon), the main raw material for making solar panels, at an investment of Rs 1,500 crore. This translates into 250 mw of power.This will be the first major facility for manufacturing a raw material for solar panels by BEL, which is a leading manufacturer of solar panels in the country.