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Companies warm up to fab guidelines

September 19, 2007 12:10 IST
With the Centre issuing the guidelines of the new semiconductor policy, companies are firming up their investment plans in India to set up plants. 

Companies planning fab plants (factories to produce raw silicon wafers with chips) for the electronics industry and solar photovoltaics (for solar energy generation) projects can now formally apply for concessions under the policy. 

Moser Baer, which announced a Rs 2,000-crore (Rs 20 billion) solar photovoltaic plant in Chennai yesterday, has already applied for the concessions. 

The Centre or its agencies will provide 20 per cent of the capital expenditure as incentive during the first 10 years of operations of such plants in SEZs, and 25 per cent of the capital expenditure for non-SEZ units. Non-SEZ units would also be exempted from the countervailing duty (CVD). 

SemIndia (promoted by a group of NRIs), which is planning a $3 billion semiconductor facility at Fab City near Hyderabad, hailed the announcement. "We have gone through the guidelines. We are preparing the details of the project as per the requirements made out in the guidelines. We are going ahead with the investments," SemIndia Systems Managing Director B V Naidu told Business Standard

According to him, the new policy will attract more investments. "Companies were waiting for the detailed guidelines. We can expect more announcements of investments from many players," he added. 

California-based Signet Solar, which is planning a $2 billion investment to produce solar photovoltaic modules in India, has termed the development as positive.  

"We will build three solar photovoltaic manufacturing facilities in India over the next decade. Each manufacturing facility will have an annual output of about 300-mw photovoltaic module. Signet Solar has commenced construction of its first global manufacturing facility in Germany and will leverage that experience to ramp up to large-scale manufacturing in India. The construction of the first manufacturing plant in India will begin by early 2008," said Signet Solar CEO and founder Rajeeva Lahri.

He pointed out that India held the potential to successfully develop and support the entire ecosystem of nano-manufacturing, including solar module manufacturing. "The policy will make India a globally competitive country and encourage companies such as us to come to India. Also, the support we get from various state governments adds to our conviction that India is ideal for manufacturing the world's lowest-cost solar modules," Lahri added. 

Aravind Gowda in Bangalore
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