Reliance Power Ltd. (RPWR), controlled by Anil Ambani, and Lanco Infratech Ltd. (LANCI) are among seven companies building a third of India’s planned sun-powered capacity to 2013 using concentrating solar-thermal technology which concentrates sunlight to boil water to power steam turbines.
Four have ordered units from Siemens, one from GE and one from Areva. Aurum Renewable Energy Pvt. expects to select a supplier this month and is considering GE, Siemens and Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd.’s Shin Nippon Machinery Co.
GE, Siemens and Areva acquired stakes in the last three years in solar-thermal equipment makers, backing a technology valued for its ability to store and supply power around the clock unlike photovoltaic, or PV, panels which directly convert sunlight into electricity.
“Siemens has the greatest market share,” because it got in early with turbines sized correctly for solar-thermal plants, said Nathaniel Bullard, a San Francisco-based solar analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “But Japanese companies were known to be pursuing orders for U.S. projects that are now defunct.”
The Indian developers declined to disclose the value of the turbine orders. In total, the units may be worth approximately $150 million, according to Jenny Chase, New Energy Finance’s lead solar analyst.
The Indian government awarded licenses for 470 megawatts of solar-thermal capacity to Lanco, Reliance Power, Aurum, Godawari Power & Ispat Ltd. (GODPI), KVK Energy & Infrastructure Pvt., Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd, and Abhijeet Group’s Corporate Ispat Alloys Ltd.
The Concentrating Solar Power plants, ranging in size from 20 to 100 megawatts each, will be the biggest of the 1,500 megawatts of solar energy capacity planned in India by early 2013.