Shimla: Indo-Norwegian Solar Pvt. Ltd, a joint venture company, intends to invest Rs 1500 crores for setting up a Solar Grade Silicon manufacturing facility in Himachal.
Erik Tonseth, a director of the company, disclosed to the media that the governmentâ€™s response was positive to the proposal for setting up the environmentally friendly project in the hill state.
Based on a unique Norwegian patented technology, Solar Grade Silicon, the core material for making solar cells, would be manufactured at the plant. This technology would reduce cost of production, consume less power during the production process and cost of the plant is much lower than the conventional Siemens technology based process, said Tonseth.
It would be a first of its kind plant in India that would meet the increasing need of making photo-electric cells needed for harnessing solar energy.
About 80 acres of land is needed to set up the plant, a proposal for which has been made to the government. The Rs 1500 crore investment is planed to be spread out in 4 phases over a 3 year period.
In the first phase, which will take 15 to 18 months, the company will set up a pilot plant that would produce 600 tons of silicon per annum. On completion the plant would produce 5400 tons per annum, major portion of which would be for the export market. A facility for cutting the Silicon ingots into wafers, suitable for making solar cells would also be set up, said GS Chopra, a director of the company.
The equity for the project is proposed to be share on a 50:50 basis by the Indian and Norwegian partners. On achieving full production capacity, the new technology company expects to touch a revenue target of $ 1 billion in a year.
In an environment of rising oil costs and depleting fossil fuels, there is tremendous demand for harnessing renewable solar energy and the industry is growing by as much as 40 percent each year, said Nirmal Gaur, who also is a director in the joint venture company.
The plant is expected to generate employment for about 500 persons. The company would also set up a research and development centre to develop newer solar power technologies.
Other than Himachal, the company is also looking at Haryana, Punjab, Uttrakhand and Meghalaya for setting up the plant. However, the company appears to be zeroing in on Una district in Himachal for locating the plant.