- BHEL has issued RFP to seek proposals from consultants for solar PV manufacturing
- It wants to explore opportunities in the PV value chain, right from quartz to modules
- Management believes this will allow it to diversify into emerging technology areas of growth, and also be aligned with the call for a self-reliant India
The Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has solicited bids to engage the services of a consultant firm to prepare detailed project report (DPR) for manufacturing in solar PV value chain for the company.
Since there is no domestic polysilicon and wafer manufacturing capacity, and ‘minimal’ cell and module manufacturing capacity in India currently, BHEL sees this an opportune time to explore opportunities in PV value chain manufacturing by which it means quartz—polycrystalline—wafer—cell—modules.
This, it believes, will reduce dependence on imports and support the government’s call for Atmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India. Through the consultant, it wants to identify prospects of entering/expanding/ backward integration of solar PV manufacturing value chain, and the support required to make these prospects viable.
“This is in line with the company’s aspirations of identification and diversification into emerging technology areas for growth and sustainability and simultaneously increasing the share of non-coal business,” said BHEL.
Among the tasks specified for the consultant, BHEL wants to assess global and domestic outlook of the sector from macro and micro perspective over mid term (5 years to 7 years) and long term (10 years to 12 years) horizon. It would need to know how to leverage its current core competencies, positional advantage and diversification goals. The winner will also recommend business model with critical success factors, while also suggesting the technological infrastructure with relevance into the future.
Currently the state-owned engineering services company BHEL runs a cell line with 100 MW annual production capacity and a module line of 226 MW capacity. It also has a dedicated Center of Excellence (CoE) that’s dedicated to working on indigenous solar PV technology with ‘reduced cost and enhanced efficiency’. The company is also a renowned name in the solar EPC segment having a portfolio of over 1.2 GW comprising ground mounted, rooftop, canal top, floating solar and the like.
As per the request for proposals (RFP) document issued by BHEL, the last date to submit proposals is April 9, 2021, according to bid announcement.
This follows BHEL’s May 2020 expression of interest (EOI) for original equipment manufacturers (OEM), through which it wanted to leverage its facilities and capabilities to set up a manufacturing base in India, under Make in India initiative of the government. The thought was also stressed upon during COVID-19 times that saw solar PV supply chains faltering due to logistical challenges faced (see BHEL Seeking PV Manufacturing Partners).