NEW DELHI: Big wind energy companies in India such as Gamesa, Mytrah and Suzlon are all diversifying into solar space this year with plans to invest several hundred million dollars in the next five years in installing thousands of solar megawatts, given the government's impetus to the sector.
While London's Alternative Investment Market (AIM) -listed Mytrah Energy (India) Ltd, which is an independent power producer, plans to invest a total of $400 million, of which $100 million would be in equity over the next one year solely in setting up its solar business, Gamesa India will invest euros 200 million over the next two years for its overall operations, as it diversifies into solar space this year.
"We don't want to depend on only one kind of fuel. Last year, the prices in solar were high and we didn't want to do subsidy-driven business as it is not sustainable. We're waiting for tenders related to National Solar Mission now and hope to be in the 1,500-2,000 MW range over the next 5-7 years," Vikram Kailas, MD at Mytrah Energy, told ET.
The company intends to install nearly 100 MW of solar energy projects over the next one year, he added. Similarly, the Indian subsidiary of Spanish wind turbine maker Gamesa, which has the largest wind energy market-share in the country, is also diversifying into solar power this year with plans to install 100 MW going up to 500 MW in the next two years.
"I have a target of 100 MW of solar EPC, rooftop installation and village electrification this year but we might exceed this as we're talking to both domestic and foreign developers who are talking to us for large solar power plants and we're giving them turnkey solutions. We'll also venture into off grid with net metering," said Gamesa India CMD Ramesh Kymal.
Solar energy, said Kymal, is the way forward for India in the long term as the country has more sunshine than wind. Wind turbine maker Suzlon, meanwhile, plans a hybrid model of wind and solar energy, whereby solar plants will be set up on the same land as wind turbines.
This is intended to save the company from land issues and overcome power evacuation hurdles as grid is available near wind farms. Its target is to install 500 mw over the next years.
According to strategy consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, it is a natural extension for independent power producers (IPPs) in the wind space to branch out to solar.
"In India, while wind sector is more mature, solar has just picked up. The fact that solar energy in India is inching closer to grid parity and government is increasing its focus on solar energy, installations through regulations and revised solar energy capacity addition targets has resulted in IPPs building up solar plants as well. But both wind and solar are equally appealing business opportunities for companies from the point of view of attractiveness," says Amol Kotwal, Director, Energy & Environment Practice, Frost & Sullivan.
The country has 22,000 MW, or 22 gigawatts (GW), of wind energy installation and a little over 3,000 MW of solar power plants in the country. The government seeks to scale up solar to 100 GW and wind to 60 GW by 2022, which will require investments of nearly $200 billion.