First Solar may sell about 200MW of assets in India

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Solar panels being cleaned. Photo: Reuters

American solar panel maker First Solar is exploring the sale of almost 190-200 megawatts (MW) of its solar power assets in India, two people aware of the development said.

First Solar is a leading global provider of comprehensive photovoltaic (PV) solar systems and has supplied solar panels worth over 17 gigawatts (GW), globally, according to the company’s website.

“First Solar India has been contemplating to monetize its solar power assets of around 190-200 MW and they are in the market, talking to various buyers, both strategic and financial,” said one of the two people cited above, requesting anonymity, as the talks are private.

A sale, if it goes through, could fetch around $200 million, (approximately Rs1,300 crore) in terms of enterprise valuation, he added.

“For First Solar, making solar panels is the main business globally and that is the focus area for them. Hence, they will look to monetize the assets that they build, as and when there is opportunity, given that the strategy is not to hold on to these assets for long periods of time,” said the second person cited above, also requesting anonymity.

A spokesperson for First Solar India declined to comment, stating the company does not comment on market rumours or speculation.

“First Solar continues to evaluate participating in the upcoming solar capacity auctions both at the central and state level to create utility scale PV assets using a combination of its strong balance sheet and its proven CdTe thin film module technology that has demonstrated a yield advantage of 6-9% over poly crystalline silicon module technologies in Indian conditions. India is one of the company’s key global markets, where we would continue to leverage upon our incumbent position to create further growth,” the spokesperson said in an email response.

First Solar India has a total portfolio of around 260 MW, located in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. In India, the solar panel maker has supplied over 1GW worth of panels.

As part of its strategy, First Solar has developed and sold solar power assets in other geographies. According to the company’s website, in August it sold 11 MW solar plant in California, to D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments Llc.

Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has been rising in the Indian renewable energy sector.

Earlier this month, renewable energy firm Inox Renewables Ltd said it had agreed to sell its operating wind power farms of 260 MW capacity to Chennai-based wind power company Leap Green Energy Pvt. Ltd.

Last month, renewable energy firm Orient Green Power Co. Ltd said that it was evaluating a merger of its wind power business with IL&FS Wind Energy. The merger of the wind assets of the two firms will create a company with 1.2 GW assets.

On 14 March, Mint reported that Greenko Group is looking to acquire hydro and wind power producer Bhoruka Power Corp. Ltd’s renewable energy portfolio of 310 MW.

In 2016, the sector had witnessed major M&A transactions such as Tata Power’s renewable arm acquiring Welspun’s 1.1 GW of renewable assets worth $1.4 billion and Greenko acquiring SunEdison’s India portfolio.

Also read:

India: Solar module maker Waaree Energies looks to raise $100m

India: Hero Future Energies plans 100 MW solar power plant in South-East Asia

This story was first published on Livemint

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