Tata BP Solar targets $1 billion turnover by 2012

BANGALORE, INDIA - Tata BP Solar India Limited — a joint venture of Tata Power and BP Solar, a division of BP — plans to increase its capacity to 300 megawatts (MW), with a target of becoming a $1 billion firm by 2012.

As part of its expansion plans, Tata BP Solar has invested $100 million in the current fiscal year to manufacture 180 MW of solar cells and 125 MW of solar modules. The company's existing capacity of solar photovoltaic cells can generate 52 MW of electricity. Calyon Bank and BNP Paribas Bank provided $78 million of funding for part of the 180-MW solar cell expansion project.

Tata BP Solar has a wide range of products for the Indian subcontinent and global market that include lighting systems, photo-voltaic cells, pumping systems, solar heaters, solar pressure cookers, solar power packs for rural clinics, street lights, vaccine storage refrigerators, water heating systems and water purifiers. The company has an impressive export portfolio and supplies solar power equipment to Asian countries such as Afghanistan in addition to exporting products to the U.S. and countries in Western Europe.

The company is also leveraging its expertise in providing services using solar energy for setting up telecom infrastructure in Bhutan. In collaboration with Tata Agrico, Tata BP Solar is lighting up the rural areas of the country deprived of electricity by distributing its solar products to villagers. Some of the recently completed projects include rural electrification of 20 villages in Orissa, the commissioning of 500 to 600 solar water pumping systems in Punjab, and electrification of 80 villages in the Leh and Kargil districts.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited, Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited are some of the big names in the company's list of Indian clients. Tata BP Solar sees a potential in working closely with real estate developers building large townships for providing solar energy. Real estate developers such as DLF Limited and Unitech Limited with a significant presence in the National Capital Region make the region an attractive market to supply solar power.

Based on current trends, solar energy is forecast to grow 30% a year in India. Solar power is a clean source of energy with a potential to fulfill power generation shortcomings. The problem is in India's own utilization, as the country exports nearly 99% (4,000 MW) of solar cells produced in a year, deploying just 1% locally.

Though there is a huge potential for the solar power market to grow in India, there are some deterrents such as low awareness, non-conducive policies and non-availability of funds for initial capital investment. Requiring only a one-time investment and no-repetitive costs, solar power remains a cost-efficient source of energy, providing a solution to India's energy needs.


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