BHEL CMD BP Rao
PSU major BHEL is all set to enter the renewable energy sector with the manufacture of solar wafers. The Maharatna company's initiative marks a big start for the PSU as a whole, since there is no domestic production yet of this key component of solar photovoltaic cells.
A media report said BHEL has taken board approval to manufacture solar wafers...and is looking at viability gap funding support from the clean energy fund. BHEL will start manufacturing the solar wafers, apart from photovoltaic cells, modules and solar panels in Maharashtra’s Sakoli plant and is pumping in Rs 3,000 crore in the venture.
The public sector power equipment major will use indigenous technology to make the wafers cut from crystalline silicon ingots and this will help reduce the cost of photovoltaic cells. The cost of putting up solar power projects is around Rs8-10 crore per megawatt. Tariff for electricity produced from this route could be Rs 7-8 per unit.
BHEL is already present in the solar power segment with manufacturing facilities for lanterns, photovoltaic cells and modules and water heating systems, mostly made at its plant near Bangalore.
BHEL is also looking at developing a hybrid system that integrates wind, solar and biomass-based power generation. It is also producing wind power generators and mini- and micro-hydro-power sets. BHEL is grappling with dwindling orders in the thermal equipment segment as major companies are either abandoning their projects or facing delays due to lack of statutory clearances. The company is expected to close the year 2013-14 with equipment orders for just 3,000 MW of capacity.
The company has embarked on major diversification and R&D exercise to de-risk its main thermal power business by expanding its renewable energy play and entering into new areas in defence production and transportation. The PSU has recently launched a new range of products designed to counter the Chinese threat. The series includes equipment sets of 600 MW that could match up to Chinese super critical sets of 660 MW without any additional cost to buyers. BHEL has, over the years, established its footprints in 76 countries across all the six continents of the world. These references encompass almost the entire range of BHEL products and services, covering thermal, hydro and gas-based turnkey power projects, substation projects and rehabilitation projects, besides a wide variety of products like; transformers, compressors, valves and oil field equipment, electrostatic precipitators, photovoltaic equipment, insulators, heat exchangers, switchgear, castings and forgings. BHEL is an integrated power plant equipment manufacturer and one of the largest engineering and manufacturing companies in India in terms of turnover.