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Solar energy biz hits new frontiers

The national solar mission is bringing in a whole new set of businesses associated with solar energy.

business Updated: Jun 15, 2011 22:24 IST
Himani Chandna Gurtoo

The national solar mission is bringing in a whole new set of businesses associated with solar energy.

The mission, under which investors bid to build solar power plants, is likely to attract an overall investment of about $70 billion according to government estimates. The plan seeks to boost green power generation from near zero to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2022.

One major ancillary industry is developing around low iron glasses, which is used in the production of photovoltaic solar panels, which in turn are used to generate energy from sunlight. According to government estimates, the demand for low iron glass is expected to surge by over 85% over the next 5 years from the current 4 million square metres per year.

Till date, most solar project developers were importing the glass from China. However, the game changed with the entry of low iron producer Gujarat Borosil.

“Thanks to huge demand from manufactures and other glass firms, we have gained tremendous marketshare,” said Phiroze J Masters, executive director (marketing), Gujarat Borosil.

Others seem to be following suit.

Hindusthan National Glass (HNG) has lined up plans to venture into manufacturing of glass for solar PV cells. “We expect the requirement of glass for the Indian solar industry to grow by 30-40% CAGR up to 2020,” said Kailash C Jain, president, HNG.

Saint-Gobain Glass India Ltd is also keen to establish a solar glass complex for R500-600 crore. The plant is likely to come up in Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh.