Silicon Power Group, a US-based semiconductor manufacturer, is to build a $121.73m (Rs10bn) silicon carbide plant in Odisha state, India.
The plant will make 150mm silicon carbide for use as a component in semiconductors. The investment will be channelled through Silicon Power Group’s India subsidiary RIR Power Electronics. The Indian Government estimates that the semiconductor market will be worth $63bn by 2026.
RIR is the only private company in India that manufacturers semiconductors from the initial diffusion stage onwards, giving the company a comparative advantage over its competitors. The company has committed to an 18–24 month timeline.
The revelation came after a meeting in Silicon Valley, US, between a government delegation from Odisha and Silicon Power Group CEO Harshad Mehta.
Among Silicon Power’s aims is the development of a semiconductor that can switch high-power and high-voltage electricity with optical signals. Using lights to control circuits, this semiconductor could enable simpler control of high-voltage equipment, streamlining project efficiencies. It was awarded $4.75m for this project in 2013.
Semiconductors are growing in importance as a result of global electrification efforts requiring computer chips. In 2021, India announced a scheme to offer a 50% subsidy for domestic semiconductor manufacturers. The government has reopened applications for chip and semiconductor investment until December 2023, meaning RIR may be joined by other entrants into the market.
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However, potential investments in the country for chip manufacturing have stalled for a variety of reasons. Multiple companies angling to enter the market have been unable to secure tech partners. Chip consortium ISMC had planned to build a $3bn semiconductor facility in the country; however, one of its members, TOWER, is amid a takeover by Intel, which has stalled progress.
Further still, an attempt to build a $19.5bn chip plant in the country by India’s Vedanta and Taiwanese company Foxconn has stalled due to a deadlock in negotiations with chipmaker STMicroelectronics regarding the latter’s potential entry.