Kolkata-based Topaz Solar Power proposes to set up a solar module manufacturing plant in Odisha with an annual capacity to produce 500 megawatts (Mw) of solar panels.
This will be the first solar panel manufacturing facility in the state, which of late has identified renewable energy as a priority area.
The project, which will come up on 5 acres of land in the vicinity of Bhubaneswar, is estimated to cost Rs 220 crore. Of this, Rs 80 crore will be in the form of equity with the rest Rs 140 crore being debt. Out of the total project cost, Rs 170 crore will be spent on imported equipment.
The payback period of the project is anticipated to be 6 years. The project will be implemented in two phases — 120Mw in the first phase and the balance 380Mw within 2 years from the commercial production of 120 Mw i.e. three years from the start of the project.
The project will use German and Chinese technology and it will be set up by Stratallig Solar on turnkey basis.
Topaz Solar Power is promoted by Ganesan Natarajan and Usha Natarajan through firms Anand Manor & Dyuti Vinimay. Currently, the promoters are engaged in manufacturing of metallurgical coke with cogeneration of power, renewable energy and trading of bulk commodities like ferrous and non-ferrous scrap, building material etc. in India and abroad.
However, the promoters’ intent to seek incentives under the ESDM (Electronic System and Design Manufacturing) policy of the Odisha government is thwarted by the obligation of meeting employment generation conditions. According to a 2015 notification of the state government, a large ESDM project has to employ 500 people at the start of the project and scale it up to 2,000 people within 5 years of operation to claim the incentives.
“Solar PV module manufacturing units is highly automated manufacturing process and thus, do not require huge manpower like BPO (Business process outsourcing) and IT (information technology) industries, which are service industries. In view of this, we have requested the state government to modify the condition of employment generation,” Natarajan said.
He said the world annual photovoltaic demand is expected to reach up to 30 Gw in 2014. Solar electric energy demand has grown consistently by 20-25 per cent a year over the past 20 years. India has projected a total installed capacity of 20,000 Mw by 2020 and a lot more can be achieved through various public-private alliances.