Consolidation in Indian Solar Industry
The Indian market is continuously seeing consolidation happening at the solar development part of the supply chain. Many smaller players which had entered the solar market in the initial years are looking to sell out to largest PE-backed platforms and financial companies. The solar development market has become extremely tough with massive competition and almost zero barriers to entry. The field is dominated by those with large balance sheets and the lowest cost of capital. Many companies such as Welspun, SunEdison etc. had sold out to larger companies in the past. Even now many small companies with 20-50 MW of capacity are looking to sell their plants with a good profit. Many of these companies have signed PPAs at much higher prices than what can now be seen currently and just want to get out with a nice profit. The future is not there fro the smaller companies with many giant financial companies entering the arena.
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The latest to exit the solar developer space is Moser Baer backed Hindustan Projects which is selling a large chunk of its solar assets to Macquarie. Though the company is not saying that it will not build new projects, I don’t think that the company has the capacity to build more, given the low returns and high risks in the solar market right now. With prices touching just 5 cents/kWh, the returns are very low even for those companies with a very low cost of capital, leave alone companies like Moser Baer who are financially stretched.
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It is also being rumoured that US solar panel giant First Solar is looking to sell its assets in India. The company which had entered the solar developer space due to the massive potential and as an outlet for its own made solar panels is also seemingly finding the going tough. The company needs to focus more on remaining competitive with the Chinse solar panel companies and as it is it can hardly make money in the Indian development space. The company has not bid successfully in Indian tenders and its management was finding it tough to win projects finding the prices too low.
IDFC Alternatives, the asset management arm of the infrastructure-focused lender, is in talks to buy First Solar’s 200 megawatts (MW) of renewable power assets in India in a deal potentially valued at around $200 million.