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US-based Signet Solar invest $2 bn in India

IANS  New Delhi, June 07, 2007
First Published: 20:28 IST(7/6/2007) | Last Updated: 20:36 IST(7/6/2007)

The US-based Signet Solar Inc on Thursday announced plans to set up three manufacturing units in India with an investment of $2 billion to produce solar photovoltaic modules and tap the solar energy potential in the country.

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The company would initially invest $150-200 million and the construction would begin early next year, while production will start when the units are ready.

The site for the units has not yet been decided but they are likely to come up in a special economic zone (SEZ), company officials said.

The California-based company is building its first such facility in Germany and believes that its experience there will help in leveraging their operations in India.

"I think in India we have not realised the potential of solar energy here. It is a huge market and its demand is only going to grow," Signet Solar's founder, president and CEO Rajeeva Lahri, an NRI, told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi.

Lahri said the company would primarily target power plants, commercial installations, rural electrification and irrigation.

He said India was chosen as the firm's Asian headquarters due to the large availability of skilled labour here and the proactive policies of the government that has made the market competitive.

Production from the new facility would initially cater to the Indian market, however, the officials did not rule out the option to use it as an export hub as well.

Addressing the press meet, Communications and IT Minister Andimuthu Raja said: "To attract investments in the semiconductors and other hi-tech areas, the department of information technology has recently announced a scheme providing special incentives including government participation in such ventures.

"Under the scheme, the government shall provide equity and capital subsidy of 20 per cent of the value of capital expenditure if the unit is set up under an SEZ and 25 percent if the unit is set up in a non-SEZ area," the minister added.

He said that solar photovoltaic manufacturing also contributes to many national policy goals, including renewable and clean energy, hi-tech manufacturing and export of hi-tech products.


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