Favorable regulatory measures have rekindled international interest in India’s renewable energy sector, with several companies like GE Energy Financial Services and Goldman Sachs making significant investments over the last few years.
Joining the bandwagon is Shanghai-based Hareon Solar, which has announced plans to install 150 MW solar power capacity over the next two years. The Chinese solar panels manufacturer has teamed up with private equity fund Nereus Capital to set up the solar power projects.
Hareon Solar will enter the Indian market through a local subsidiary – Hareon India Private Limited – and will look to install solar power projects to cater to the utility power demand, as well as the telecom and residential markets.
A number of Indian states are planning to install thousands of megawatts of solar power capacity which includes utility-scale as well as rooftop solar power projects. Some of the states are also planning to implement net metering programs as well.
The central government recently announced a budget of about $150 million for large-scale solar power projects, solar-powered irrigation pumps, and canal-top solar power projects. As per the National Solar Mission, about 9,000 MW capacity is to be auctioned and allocated to project developers by 2017, but the new government may look to increase this capacity as it plans to aggressively promote solar power in the country.
Such ambitious targets and supportive regulatory mechanisms are the reasons why Nereus Capital is bullish on the Indian renewable energy sector, and has set up two exclusive private equity funds to finance renewable energy projects. The India Alternative Energy Fund provides finance to independent power producers for construction and implementation of renewable energy projects, while the India Solar Investment Trust provides construction finance to utility-scale solar power projects that provide electricity to commercial or industrial users.
Some of the recent high-ticket private equity investments in Indian solar power projects include a $24 million investment by GE Energy Financial Services in Asia’s largest solar project.