Norfund’s Norwegian Climate Investment Fund said it is investing about 600 million NOK ($60 million) in SAEL, an Indian solar and agricultural waste-to-energy company.
The equity investment will contribute to avoiding more than 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions and improving air quality by reducing stubble burning, the development finance institution said in a statement.
SAEL turns crop residues to fuel in waste-to-energy projects, being India’s largest company in its vertical, according to Norfund. The firm currently has more than 20 projects both operating and under construction in solar and agri waste-to-energy space.
Norfund said its investment will support SAEL to grow its portfolio to 3GW over the next five years by adding 100MW of new biomass and 400MW of new solar capacity annually in addition to its existing portfolio of 600 MW.
“By collecting the crop stubble to be used as fuel in our waste-to-energy plants, we contribute to combating one of our nation’s greatest health issues, while at the same time creating local employment and extra income for farmers and local entrepreneurs. This partnership with Norfund will fast track implementation of these projects,” said Jasbir Awla, chairman and managing director of SAEL.
Prior to this investment, on January 2, the Norwegian Climate Investment Fund said it will invest 900 million INR ($11 million) for a 49% stake in an Indian solar project developed by Gurgaon-headquartered, Nasdaq-listed ReNew Power, together with KLP, Norway’s largest pension company.
This followed another 49% stake acquisition of the solar energy project Thar Surya 1 for approximately 2.8 billion INR.
The fund’s other renewable energy transactions in India include Fourth Partner Energy and Koppal Narendra.
The Norwegian Climate Investment Fund, which officially commenced in May 2022, has deployed over 2 billion NOK.
The strategy chooses to prioritise eight countries including India, Vietnam, the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. In these countries, Norfund has identified investment opportunities worth over 8 billion NOK.
The fund will primarily invest in equity, with a 20-35% ownership interest, and the individual investments will be around $50-150 million.