Mumbai: Rooftop solar energy company Amplus Energy Solutions Pvt. Ltd is in talks to raise as much as $100 million, said two people aware of the development. “The company has been in talks with investors, both financial and strategic to raise around $50-100 million, which will help the company grow beyond its current portfolio of under 100 megawatts (MW) of distributed generation assets,” one of the two people cited above said on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to talk to reporters. Amplus was infrastructure fund I Squared Capital’s first bet in India. The fund committed to invest $150 million in the firm in August 2015. Distributed renewable energy generation (rooftop energy generation) is attracting strong interest as the market has few developers with significant portfolios, making it a good time to raise funds, he said. Investment bank Jefferies is advising Amplus on the fund raising, he added. Emails sent on Friday to I Squared Capital’s partner Gautam Bhandari and India head Harsh Aggarwal were not answered. Emails and text messages sent to Sanjeev Aggarwal, managing director and chief executive at Amplus, too went unanswered.
Jefferies declined to comment. With I Squared Capital’s support, Amplus has grown its portfolio through both greenfield projects and acquisitions. In June 2016, Mint reported that Amplus had bought American solar power developer SunEdison Inc.’s roof-top solar power assets of around 7 MW spread across states such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Delhi. The acquisition provided Amplus access to large clients such as Whirlpool, Intel, Standard Chartered and Delhi Metro. Other major clients include Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Yamaha Corp. and Hilton Hotels & Resorts. In the report cited above, Aggarwal of Amplus said his company is looking to build a portfolio of 150-200 MW in the next 24 months. According to the company’s website, Amplus has around 120 MW of operational and under-construction projects, and over 70 customers.
While Amplus was one of the first distributed renewable energy companies to raise a large round of funding, the space has recently seen more interest from investors. In July, Mint reported that Warburg Pincus, the New York-based private equity firm, is investing $100 million in rooftop solar developer CleanMax Solar. Others that have shown interest in the space include Japanese financial services firm ORIX Corp., which plans to set up a joint venture firm with SUN Renewables for setting up distributed generation solar power projects. In June, India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) said it plans to finance solar rooftop projects worth Rs400 crore, which will add at least 100 MW of solar rooftop capacity to the grid. SBI has borrowed $625 million from the World Bank for on-lending to viable grid-connected rooftop solar projects. The overall programme will help the bank finance projects worth a total of 600 MW.
Developers that SBI will be financing under this programme include Azure Power, Amplus and Cleanmax. These developments come in the backdrop of India’s commitment to green energy at the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in 2016 and the government push to install around 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power and 60,000 GW of wind power by 2022. Of the planned solar capacity, 40 GW has to come from solar rooftop projects.