In what is considered a significant breakthrough, SunEdison, a global provider of solar energy services, has tied up debt funds for a slew of solar power projects, which are under various stages of construction in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
SunEdison has structured debt financing totalling around $110 million (over Rs.500 crore) from three institutions — Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the development finance institution of the U.S. Government; L&T Infrastructure Finance Company; and Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IDFC).
According to Pashupathy Gopalan, Chief Executive Officer (South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa Operations) of SunEdison, 50 per cent of the aforesaid debt would be raised from L&T Infrastructure Finance. The balance would come from OPIC and IDFC. “This (solar power projects) is a new asset class. Financing is the key here,” he said.
He said SunEdison had independent agreements with these lenders. The terms of the debt were accordingly different. To a specific query, he said the tenor of the debt was for 15 years. The interest rates ranged from 12.5 per cent to 13.5 per cent, he said.
The debt would be used to construct several fully-contracted solar power projects with an expected capacity of 50 MW.
Once operational, these plants were expected to generate over 84,000 megawatt hours of clean energy in the first year of operation.
Mr. Gopalan said a part of the proposed capacity was covered under the National Solar Mission. While two projects of 5 MW each in Gujarat were ready to go on stream anytime, he expected the remaining to go commercial by the end of 2011. SunEdison was also seriously evaluating opportunities in off-grid project space, he said.