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Renew | January 2014

We are eyeing six states for solar projects

Backed by infra-fund management company CIM Group, Canadian firm SkyPower Global is all set to spread its presence in India. Associate Vice President India & Africa Market Kshitij Kaushik, in an interview with Pradeep Pandey, shares the company's plans for India.

SkyPower has recently ventured into Indian market. Kindly mention some of the projects in this space?
We are pretty serious about our business in India. We've been developing quite a few projects, some of which are greenfield projects and are in advanced stages of development. At present, about 2.5 GW of power projects are in pipeline, but at the very same time our approach is totally different.

Currently, we are opening to bid for projects, and are only looking at the National Solar Mission (NSM).

Please elaborate us more on 2.5 GW worth projects?
I would not be able to provide you much information on these projects until the first phase of the project comes up. I can only say that we are targeting around 6-7 states Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Chhattisgarh.

Have you bagged some of these contracts?
We are not participating in each and every state. In the targeted states, we are working with the respective state governments. I will be able to share the details only when certain things materialises.

But, have you ventured into any tie-ups with Indian players?
All I can say that we do have a each for different projects and we've got different partners.

What's the nature of your partnership are these technical tie-ups or business tie-ups?
Most of them are business tie-ups. Being a foreign company, if you want to come and establish a base and then try to establish a relationship with all these people, then it would take a lot of time. We ventured into India at a time when things were ramping up. We thought it was the perfect time for us to come in and for that we have to have a local partnership.

We associated with people who had the knowledge of Indian market or the local environment. We brought in expertise on how to do the project and brought in connections with the suppliers with the EPCs or bank.

The energy policy of India is largely defined by the country's burgeoning energy deficit and increased focus on developing alternative sources of energy, particularly nuclear, solar and wind energy. What is your observation on Indian policy for solar energy?
There are some challenges associated with solar policy in India. We can find challenges everywhere, but in India, people are accepted it be it the government or the industry. So that's the thing which is making India more attractive for companies. There are various advantages associated with the solar policy. That's the reason why our company is now focusing in India. I think, India is among the top three and in the "A" category in terms of preference.

The current scenario of power industry doesn't look promising. In this situation, how do you assess the investors sentiments?
Investment scenario in India looks quite bullish, but we expect some positive movements post Elections. We also expect major influx of funds coming in after the Elections. Foreign funds has to come, where as the Indian funds are available. But at present, the entire industry is playing the 'wait n watch' game.

About SkyPower
SkyPower is majority owned by a Los Angeles-based infrastructure fund managed by the CIM Group, a transformational urban real estate and infrastructure investment firm founded in 1994 with over $11.9 billion in assets under management. One of the major capital providers to the CIM Group is the California Public Employees Retirement System, which has a current investment portfolio of $267.8 billion (August 5, 2013). SkyPower has sold a majority interest in select Canadian projects for $185 million in June 2012. It has closed project debt financing on seven utility-scale solar projects totalling 67 MW for approximately $250 million, arranged for corporate debt facilities totalling $100 million, and closed on over $2 billion in renewable energy transactions since 2003.

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