Solar firm SkyPower looking for local partners in India

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Canadian solar power firm SkyPower Global, which has won projects to develop 350 MW capacity in the country, is scouting for local partners and has hired investment banker Greenstone Energy Advisors to help its search.
“In every single market we are in today, we have entered after choosing a local partner. India is the only exception,” SkyPower CEO Kerry Adler told ET in an exclusive interview. “But here too we are now looking for a partner not to fund our activities, but to provide us local expertise and augment our abilities,” he said.
SkyPower won seven projects in India last year – three in Madhya Pradesh (150 MW) and four in Telangana (200 MW).

Greenstone focuses exclusively on India’s renewable energy sector, helping developers raise finances.
“We were approached by a dozen groups and we were so overwhelmed that we hired Greenstone to act as our interface with the interested parties and filter, on behalf of the company, the offers that make sense and the ones that don’t,” said Adler. “But we have not selected a partner yet.”
He said the company hopes to set up 18,000 MW of solar capacity in India in the next six years. “India is a new market where the government is putting together policies and programmes that will encourage foreign investors and simultaneously create a marketplace for renewable energy.”

SkyPower made a splash last July when it won contracts in Madhya Pradesh by offering then record low tariffs of Rs 5.05, Rs 5.11 and Rs 5.30 per kwH for three 50 MW projects. This had set off speculation about the projects’ viability and ability to tie up finances.

“When we offered Rs 5.05 per kwH, people were in shock,” Adler said. “What they did not realize is that others could have offered the same tariff as well. We don’t go into a market until we understand it. We have been in India for three years and knew exactly what we were doing,” he said.

Adler said the company has no financing problems and rejected any suggestion of exiting the projects.
Founded in 2003 by Adler, SkyPower initially focused only on Canada. It faced turbulence after its majority shareholder Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008. Los Angeles-based private equity fund, CIM Group, acquired the firm in 2009. Since then, it gone aggressively global with a pipeline of 25,000 MW of renewable energy projects across 30 countries, including 3,000 MW in Nigeria, 2,000 MW in Bangladesh and 1,000 MW in Kenya. If all the projects are completed successfully, SkyPower is set to becom ..

In India, power purchase agreements for all the projects have been signed. “The completion date is 11 months from now,” said Adler. “By the terms of the agreement, we could have taken longer in Telangana, but I want to finish the current projects by March 30 next year. We have just appointed EPC contractors as well.”

Source:  The Economic Times

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