Industrial conglomerate Yash Birla will make its first venture into the solar industry by building a new cell and wafer production facility in the state of Maharashtra in central India. The total cost for the project will be INR54 billion (US$1.2 billion) and, when completed, it will be one of the largest PV manufacturing sites in the region.
The first stage, costing around INR15 billion (US$333,500), will see production capacity for cells and wafers set at 60MW and 125MW respectively, with construction scheduled for completion by the end of 2011.
The plant, which will be located in the Satara district of Maharashtra, is to be funded through a mixture of equity investment and debt from a consortium of 11 domestic lenders; Yash Birla’s subsidiary, Birla Surya, is managing the financing of the project.
Chairman Yash Birla said that the decision to enter the solar marketplace was driven by the opportunity presented by the Indian Government's National Solar Mission, which aims to establish PV capacity totalling 20GW by 2022. Birla also added that his company was planning to build R&D facilities to ensure products meet quality and longevity standards.