CLP set to buy Suzlon’s Rs 800 crore Telengana project for India solar debut
Hong Kong’s CLP Group, the largest overseas investor in power in India, wants a piece of the country’s solar energy action. CLP (formerly China Light & Power), is finalising its solar debut through an acquisition. It’s local arm is in advanced negotiations to buy stakes in a 100 MW solar park project in Telengana from Suzlon Energy, according to people in the know. The diversification of CLP India’s clean energy portfolio comes after the company established itself as the leading wind power generator in the country with almost a gigawatt of operating assets. If the deal goes through–a formal announcement is expected in a few days barring hiccups–it will give a big boost to the domestic solar power industry, underscoring global interest even in secondary market brownfield or even greenfield growth opportunities. An estimated 10,000 MW of solar and wind projects are believed to be on the block, seeking equity investments to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore, according to sector experts.India’s solar energy sector has seen record capacity additions while tariff bids for new projects have fallen to unprecedented lows as the government is pushing hard to achieve the ambitious target of 100,000 MW of grid-connected solar power by 2022.To comply with power purchase agreement (PPA) norms, CLP India will first acquire 49% of the project and, a year after its commissioning, take majority control and may even buy Suzlon out entirely, said the people cited above. Suzlon will however remain involved with the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work. The Rs 800 crore project needs Rs 150 crore of equity and the rest will be financed through debt. The country’s second-largest wind turbine manufacturer, Suzlon made its entry into solar in January by winning the rights to set up 210 MW of solar plants in Telangana in this financial year across six projects. The largest is the 100 MW one that Suzlon is planning to monetise first, the others being one of 50 MW and four of 15 MW each. The 100 MW project is due for commissioning on May 31, 2017.