SunEdison, a solar power developer and a subsidiary of the US poly-silicon major MEMC, is looking to sell 49 per cent stake – the most allowed under the power purchase agreements – in seven of its solar projects in India. (Each project is under a company and SunEdison wants to sell 49 per cent in each.)

Sources close to the development say that a US-based company is in talks with SunEdison for this.

The projects

Sources among investment bankers have told Business Line that these seven projects total to a capacity of 52 MW. The biggest of the seven is the 25-MW project in Patan, Gujarat. The others are: three in Surendranagar (Gujarat), Sirohi and Jodhpur in Rajasthan and Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh.

SunEdison estimates that over the lives of these projects, they would earn $140.69 million net cash, i.e., tariff and carbon credit revenues minus development costs, maintenance costs and taxes. Forty-nine per cent of this works out to $68.94 million.

Projects other than Patan (25 MW), Sirohi (1 MW) and Jhansi (1 MW) are jointly-owned. While IDFC is the co-owner of the Jodhpur project (5 MW), OPIC, a part of the US government and L&T Infra Finance are the co-investors of the Surendranagar projects.

Incidentally, only last week did SunEdison announce raising $110 million in debt from OPIC, L&T Infra and IDFC.

Significance

These seven projects are in various stages of completion. All of them will be generating solar electricity by January 2012.

How the stake-sale pans out is a matter of great interest to the solar industry globally. This is because India is a very recent entrant in the solar power generation sector but is a big and growing market.

With sunshine all through the year, India is a promising solar nation, where the panels are expected to produce more than in, say, Europe or the US.

However, there are other issues such as difficulties in project implementation, and the absence of solar irradiance data. SunEdison's success in putting through the stake-sale deal will kind of become a benchmark for others.

mramesh@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 25, 2011)
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