ArcelorMittal eyes 600 MW Indian solar farm approval

ArcelorMittal, a Luxembourg-based giant of the mining and steel industry, is poised to take a giant stride into the solar power market with the proposed construction of a 600 MW PV plant in India’s Karnataka.

Having received land possession certificates for 2,659 acres of private land in the Indian state between December 2011 and December 2012 – originally for the development of a 750 MW steel plant – the firm has financially assessed the viability of such a project and concluded that solar would be a better bet.

According to a filing released by ArcelorMittal, the firm has submitted a proposal to the Karnataka government seeking permission to instead build a solar plant some 600 MW in size on the land it has acquired. Although the original certificates were for a steel plant, the company is confident that its new request will be granted, given Karnataka’s – and, more widely, India’s – current zeal for solar power.

The excess capacity of steel globally has forced ArcelorMittal’s hand, rendering the planned six million ton plant all-but redundant. The company expects no such problem with solar, however.

“In view of excess capacity of steel worldwide and uncertainty in iron ore availability locally, the company is exploring the possibility of a solar farm for generating solar energy,” read the statement. “In this regard, the company has sought the state government’s permission to set up a solar farm of up to 600 MW. The state government is considering a proposal and the company is hopeful of receiving a favourable response to the proposal.”