NEW DELHI: Indian solar industry attracted $10 billion financing in 2017, more than double from $4 billion in 2016, as projects gathered steam on the back of Narendra Modi government’s push to create 100 GW (giga watt) solar power capacity by 2022.
According to latest data from green energy market tracker Mercom Capital, Indian solar companies received $800 million in venture capital and private equity investments, which accounts for half of such investments globally and indicates the traction of India’s solar policy among global investors.
In terms of total funding, Indian solar companies raised $3.6 billion through venture capitals, private equity funds, public market and debt in 2017. This accounts for 28% of such fundings globally.
Project financing alone rose to about $6.4 billion on the back of nearly 10 GW of solar installations coming along as compared to $3.5 billion financing activity with installation of 4 GW of solar capacity in 2016.
The increase in corporate funding in 2017 was largely spurred by large private equity deals, the largest being announced by ReNew Power, which closed two deals worth $200 million each. A host of other companies announced deals worth more than $100 million each.
Debt financing also saw a significant year-on-year growth. Most of the debt activity among Indian solar companies came in the form of new bonds. Greenko Energy issued senior notes and bonds to the tune of $1.5 billion, Azure Power raised over $500 million through a bond and ReNew Power raised close to $500 million via bond issues.
The companies used a variety of debt instruments, including senior notes, bonds, non-convertible debentures and a flexi-line of credit, for financing in 2017. The interest rate on these instruments ranged from 4.9% to 8.75%.
There were, however, no corporate M&A deals in the solar sector during 2017. Project acquisition activity too fell by half in terms of value compared to 2016. The largest project acquisition deals included the $600 million acquisition of Hindustan Power Projects’ 330 MW solar portfolio by the Macquarie Group and the $300 million acquisition of First Solar’s 190 MW project portfolio by IDFC Alternatives. In contrast, Tata Power Renewable Energy’s $1.4 billion purchase of Welspun Renewable Energy’s 1.1 GW project pipeline dominated the M&A activity in 2016.
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