With 10GW of solar projects under its belt and more to come in Saudi Arabia, L&T has found the country to be a happy hunting ground. 

When the solar movement began in India around 2011, L&T was everybody favorite EPC contractor. But after the first GW was built, the engineering major found the market to be too crowded and margins too thin; it quietly yielded space to other companies, such as Sterling & Wilson of the Shapoorji Pallonji group.  

Not one to cut corners to bag projects, L&T found itself unable to turn out to be the “L-1” -- or the lowest bidder – in tenders and bowed out of the rat race. 

But now, it has come back into solar with a vengeance—this time in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  

While the entire Middle East, or indeed the whole of MENA region, is solarizing itself, Saudi Arabia stands out, with a stated ambition of building 70GW of solar capacity by 2030. L&T’s Wholetime Director, T Madhava Das, told businessline that of the 10GW that the company is building, 1.3GW has been completed and another 2.9GW would be completed by March.  

One of the projects is a 1.8 GW plant at a single location of which 1 GW has been commissioned; the rest would go on stream by March, Das said. He said that given Saudia Arabia’s mega plans, L&T would get more contracts.  

Apart from solar, L&T is also doing the ‘balance of plant’ part of wind power. The country is building 1.6GW of wind power, with 250 wind turbines, to feed the electrolysers of the green hydrogen plants that will energize the ‘Neom City’, the $500b all-green, futuristic hyper-city. 

Das was all praise for Saudi Arabia for the authorities’ readiness to come in and remove any hurdle in the execution of projects.  

Pertinent to mention that L&T has a long association with Saudi Arabia, where it is doing many projects in different areas, including the prestigious, $1.4 billion Riyadh Metro projects. 

Das said that L&T is looking for solar EPC opportunities in Africa, but was yet to get a breakthrough. 

Back in India, L&T is getting back into solar, choosing niche projects where the margins are better. Right now, it is doing about two GW of projects. The company’s focus is on floating solar, which is a niche area. One of the projects L&T is doing is a part of the Omkareshwar Dam floating solar project – 116 MW out of the 600 MW. The project is, incidentally, the world’s biggest floating solar plant. 

Das sees opportunities for floating solar in Indonesia.