Tata Wins Over IBM, Dell With Solar Cheaper Than Grid
Tata Group’s solar unit is expanding its business building plants for customers, forecasting that offices and factories will be paying more for grid power than solar by 2016 in most Indian states. Solar installations for commercial and industrial energy consumers, such as cement factories, information technology parks and car manufacturers, seeking to generate their own power represent a market of about 80 billion rupees ($1.3 billion), said Ajay Goel, chief executive of Tata Power Solar Systems Ltd., a unit of India’s biggest industrial group that owns Jaguar Land Rover.The company, formerly known as Tata BP Solar Ltd., is seeking to diversify from making panels after an oversupply from Chinese competitors crushed prices globally and idled Indian factories. Customers for whom it has already completed solar plants for self-generation include Maruti Suzuki India Ltd. (MSIL), the country’s biggest carmaker, and the local units of Dell Inc. (DELL) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) “We’re seeing a huge uptake as we get closer and closer to grid parity,” Goel said in a phone interview. “Corporate customers are coming to us to install solar on their rooftops or land on the side of their factories because it can provide energy cheaper than from the grid.