The “Make in India” campaign has its first major project in the solar energy business, as SunEdison and Adani Enterprises have agreed to set up a solar photovoltaic module manufacturing plant in Gujarat.
The proposed plant will require an estimated investment of $4 billion and will be India’s largest solar PV module manufacturing unit. The project is expected to be completed over the next three years. SunEdison and Adani Enterprises announced the landmark deal at the Vibrant Gujarat global investors summit.
The manufacturing unit fits perfectly into SunEdison’s broader plans to expand its footprint in the Indian solar power market. The company had recently successfully bid to set up a 150 MW solar PV capacity in Karnataka. The company also signed a major deal with the state government of Rajasthan to set up 5 GW of solar power capacity over the next five years.
In addition to utility-scale power projects, the company is also working aggressively on distributed solar power projects in rural areas of India. This week SunEdison also announced that it will set up 250 MW of solar power capacity through 5,000 projects in villages across India.
The manufacturing unit would also benefit from the impending surge in demand for Indian-made solar power equipment. The Indian government plans to add 100 GW solar power capacity by 2022. A sizeable capacity will be obligated to use India-made solar power equipment. The Indian government has asked the defence forces and public sector companies to set up large-scale solar parks. Entire capacity of such solar parks are expected to be based on India-made solar power equipment.
With a cost benefit of manufacturing solar PV modules locally, Adani Enterprises may also look to expand its solar power footprint. Adani Power currently operates 40 MW solar PV project in Gujarat. The company has been facing strain in the thermal power business due to mounting debt and unavailability of coal. Competitors like Tata Power and Reliance Power have strong renewable energy capacity addition plans.