I-Squared Cap­i­tal to in­vest $150 mil­lion in Am­plus Energy

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Global in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment man­ager I Squared Cap­i­tal, as part of its In­dia strat­egy, has taken its first bet on the coun­try's green energy sec­tor. It plans to in­vest $150 mil­lion in Am­plus Energy So­lu­tions Pvt. Ltd, which sets up dis­trib­uted so­lar power gen­er­a­tion projects in In­dia.

Such a move comes in the back­drop of the gov­ern­ment push­ing re­new­able energy to the top of its energy se­cu­rity agenda. In­dia needs as much as $200 bil­lion to meet its tar­get of in­stalling 100 gi­gawatts (GW) of so­lar power and 60,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power by 2022. Of the planned so­lar ca­pac­ity, 40,000MW has to come from so­lar rooftop projects.

Am­plus op­er­ates in this space. "I Squared Cap­i­tal has made a $150 mil­lion eq­uity com­mit­ment. The fund­ing will be used to ex­pand oper­a­tions in In­dia and Asia. An an­nounce­ment will be made shortly," said a per­son aware of the de­vel­op­ment who did not want to be named. Another per­son in the know of the mat­ter said, "I Squared Cap­i­tal will in­vest in Am­plus." An ex­ter­nal spokesper­son for Am­plus in an email said, "Am­plus re­cently re­ceived fund­ing from I Squared Cap­i­tal."

I Squared Cap­i­tal is a pri­vate eq­uity firm fo­cused on energy, util­i­ties, and trans­port in North Amer­ica and Europe, and se­lects in­vest­ments in the high-growth economies. The firm, which in­cludes ex-Mor­gan Stan­ley banker Gau­tam Bhan­dari as one of its founders, has been eval­u­at­ing in­fra­struc­ture projects in In­dia.

Mint re­ported on 10 July that I Squared Cap­i­tal was in talks to ac­quire from NCC Ltd a ma­jor­ity stake in an Ut­tar Pradesh toll­way pro­ject, and was also eval­u­at­ing the Ban­ga­lore El­e­vated Toll­way pro­ject. In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Corp. (IFC), part of World Bank group, has also com­mit­ted $100 mil­lion in eq­uity to a joint ven­ture with I Squared Cap­i­tal to buy op­er­at­ing road as­sets.

Am­plus is headed by Sanjeev Ag­gar­wal, who is for­mer di­rec­tor, busi­ness de­vel­op­ment, AES (In­dia) Pvt. Ltd-the In­dian sub­sidiary of the US energy ma­jor AES Corp. The firm is one of the sig­nif­i­cant for­eign in­vestors in the In­dian power sec­tor. An email query to I Squared Cap­i­tal re­mained unan­swered.

The em­pha­sis on so­lar and wind power is also ex­pected to strengthen In­dia's stand­ing at global cli­mate change ne­go­ti­a­tions that cul­mi­nate in a sum­mit in Paris in De­cem­ber. In In­dia, which is the big­gest green­house gas emit­ter af­ter the US and China, re­new­able energy cur­rently ac­counts for 13%, or 35,777MW, of the to­tal in­stalled ca­pac­ity of 2,74,818MW. Ac­cord­ing to an­a­lysts, there is de­mand for rooftop so­lar power projects. "There is a large po­ten­tial avail­able for gen­er­at­ing so­lar power us­ing unuti­lized space on rooftop and waste­lands around build­ings. Small quan­ti­ties of power gen­er­ated by each in­di­vid­ual house­hold, in­dus­trial build­ing, com­mer­cial build­ing or any other type of build­ing can be used to partly ful­fil the re­quire­ment of the build­ing oc­cu­pants and sur­plus, if any, can be fed into the grid. The rooftop SPV (so­lar pho­to­voltaic) sys­tems on build­ing's roof space can be in­stalled to re­place DG (diesel gen­er­a­tor) sets for op­er­a­tion dur­ing load shed­ding," Yes Bank said in a 19 Au­gust re­port.

"With the cur­rent in­stalled ca­pac­ity of rooftop so­lar sys­tems es­ti­mated at 300MW, and with SECI's (So­lar Energy Corp. of In­dia) man­date to in­stall 50MW ca­pac­ity in the pipeline, the goal of achiev­ing 40GW rooftop so­lar power seems be­yond the bounds of pos­si­bil­ity," the Yes Bank re­port added.

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