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Updated: June 24, 2011 00:07 IST

Birla Surya to invest $1.2 b in silicon wafers unit

Sujay Mehdudia
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CLEAN AND GREEN FUTURE: Yash Birla Group Chairman Yash Birla (left) and Alicia Eastman, Executive Director and Partner, Asia Pacific Capital, address a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday. Photo: Paul Noronha
CLEAN AND GREEN FUTURE: Yash Birla Group Chairman Yash Birla (left) and Alicia Eastman, Executive Director and Partner, Asia Pacific Capital, address a press conference in Mumbai on Thursday. Photo: Paul Noronha

The investment will be spread over five years

Birla Surya, part of the Yash Birla group, on Thursday announced that it would invest $1.2 billion (about Rs.5,400 crore) in the next five years to build the country's first largest integrated facility for fabrication of multi-crystalline silicon wafers and processing of solar photovoltaic cells.

The proposed project is located in Satara District in Maharashtra. Birla Surya has already acquired land for Phase I of the project and is in process of acquiring land for the future expansion simultaneously. The company has received the required government approvals and civil construction is being now carried out.

In the first phase, the company will set up facilities for 60 MWp of multi-crystalline solar photovoltaic cells and fabrication of 125 MWp multi-crystalline silicon wafers using solar grade silicon (SGS). The first phase will entail investment of Rs.1,493 crore funded through a mix of equity and debt. The company has tied up long-term debt to the extent of Rs.970.50 crore and will start commercial production from Phase I by December.

The promoters have already contributed Rs.254 crore to the project till date out of a sum of Rs.792 crore (including debt) that has been infused into the project towards equipment/technology suppliers, land and site development.

Birla Surya CEO Mohan Datari said, “We have planned the implementation phase of the project to ensure revenue generation at the earliest. The company plans to finally realise complete vertical integration from FS to SPVC and further onto generators. The expansion is sufficiently staggered to ensure complete technology absorption.”

Go-Vin Holding Pte Ltd, Singapore is the investment advisor for the transaction.

Contracts with suppliers

Birla Surya has signed contracts with leading technology suppliers such as Roth & Rau of Germany and GT Solar of U.S., Herbert Arnold GmbH & Co.

Commenting on group's entry into the solar industry, Yash Birla group Chairman Yash Birla said, “We have been associated with eco-friendly portable power generation for over 30 years. With the group's emphasis towards a clean and green future, we have forayed into the fast developing solar photovoltaic industry.

“We will be incorporating the latest technology and will set up an in-house research and development facility to ensure that our products are hallmarked for quality and longevity.”

India is among the top five countries of the world in terms of renewable energy capacity with an installed base of over 19,000 MW of grid interactive renewable power, which is around 11 per cent of the total installed capacity.

In addition, it adds about 2,500 MW of renewable power annually and recently launched the ambitious National Solar Mission with a target capacity of 20 GW by 2022.

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