US private equity firm Blackstone has decided to invest $300 million in one of the leading solar PV companies in India, Moser Baer (Private) Limited.
Moser Baer (NSE: MOSERBAER) has a diversified portfolio ranging from manufacturing of computer peripherals to fabrications of solar panels. While their computer hardware business is very well established, the company is looking to expand its solar panel fabrication capabilities.
The solar fabrication firm of the company was established in 2007 when crystalline silicon and thin film solar cell manufacturing assembly lines were set up. Both the assembly lines are part of Moser Baer Photo Voltaic Limited which holds the record of fabricating the world’s largest thin film solar panel measuring 2.6 meters x 2.2 meters and having generation capacity of up to 390 watts.
The company has a thin film assembly line with an annual capacity of 40 MW. The company also has several manufacturing facilities around the country and exports solar panels to Germany, Italy in addition to setting up solar installations within the country.
Moser Baer has supplied solar panels to various rooftop and ground-mounted installations in Germany, Italy and Netherlands. A 7 MW capacity solar farm at Nordendorf, Germany is its largest project while a 1 MW capacity power plant in Maharashtra is its largest project in India.
The investment by the Blackstone group is a wise move given the impending solar energy revolution in the wake of the National Solar Mission which aims to install 20,000 MW of solar power capacity by 2022.
The government recently released a set of guidelines for the first phase (ending 2013) of the National Solar Mission which would see installation of 500 MW of solar PV capacity. According to the guidelines, the project developers will be eligible for premium tariff rates only if they use solar cells and other equipment fabricated by Indian companies.
India has been predicted to be one of the drivers of solar energy installations in the coming few years. With a perspective order book of tens of MW of solar panels, Moser Baer PV certainly looks an intelligent investment move for the Blackstone group.
Article by Mridul Chadha, appearing courtesy Earth & Industry.