Johnson Controls May Seek to Build Solar-Power Plants in India
“We think there’s a tremendous opportunity” to engineer, build and operate plants for project developers, Pramoda Karkal, managing director at Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company’s Indian unit, said in an interview in Mumbai.
India has awarded licenses to build at least 1,100 megawatts of solar capacity by next January, roughly equivalent to one new nuclear power plant and about 30 times what exists today. Companies are racing to line up financing and contractors for projects to meet their deadlines.
Within 20 years, India’s solar sector could create a $50 billion market and rival China’s, Karkal estimated.
“There are thousands and thousands of remote villages in India without a connection to the electricity grid,” he said. “Rather than laying miles of copper lines, it’s cheaper to build a solar plant. That’s why solar will take off quickly here.”
Johnson Controls had global sales of $12.8 billion last year installing equipment and controls for air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration and other processes that allow buildings to reduce energy consumption. The systems it has installed since 2000 have saved $7.5 billion in operating costs, the company estimates.
India is trying to pass legislation that would restrict the energy consumed by commercial buildings. If successful, that could create a $500 million market within five years for services in Asia’s third-largest energy consumer, Karkal said.