Solar firm Rays Power Experts in talks to raise Rs100 crore

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Solar parks developer Rays Power Experts Pvt. Ltd is in advanced talks with overseas funds to raise about Rs100 crore for growth capital, managing director Rahul Gupta said.

The funding, which is expected to close in the next few months, will help the company expand its solar rooftop and solar EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) business.

“We are already in talks with some overseas funds and are in advance stage discussions, but we have still not closed the structure of the deal,” Gupta said in an interview. He did not disclose whether the company would sell an equity stake in Rays Power to the new investor.

He said the Delhi and Jaipur-based company was also looking to tie-up loans for one of its rooftop solar projects from the funds set up by the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Last year, the World Bank said it would invest $625 million in India’s rooftop solar sector, while the ADB said it planned to provide $500 million in financing to the sector.

India needs as much as $200 billion to meet its target of installing 100 gigawatt (GW) of solar power and 60GW of wind power by 2022. Of the planned solar capacity, 40GW has to come from rooftop projects.

India’s total installed solar capacity had crossed 10GW as of December and is likely to cross 18GW by the end of 2017.

In 2010, Gupta and his IIT Roorkee classmate began as consultants to solar sector companies. In 2011, Gupta started out on his own and founded Rays Power Experts as a solar EPC firm. The company has executed more than 65 projects and has an order book worth about Rs700 crore.

Rays Power also operates about 50 megawatt (MW) of solar power projects as an independent power producer (IPP) and is looking to expand that portfolio apart from building projects for other IPPs, Gupta said.

Rays Power also has a joint venture in Singapore for setting up solar projects in South East Asian markets. As of the year ended 31 March, the privately held company had a net sales of Rs350 crore and expected revenue to grow 30% this fiscal.

There has been increased competition in the solar sector amongst developers due to fewer new tenders and complete lack of pipeline visibility over the next year, clean energy-focused consultancy Bridge To India said in a 15 May report. The sector is getting “overheated” and lower tariffs are unsustainable, the report said.

“Falling tariffs are a double-edged sword for the sector. They make solar power more attractive for consumers but are also making investors and lenders jittery. In the near term, they are also creating uncertainty in the minds of policy makers and creating new risks for older projects auctioned at 2-3x higher tariffs,” the Bridge To India report said.

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