NEW DELHI, INDIA: IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, will provide a $10 million equity investment to an independent solar power company, Azure Power Private Ltd, to help implement new megawatt scale grid-connected solar plants to bolster clean energy output. This is the first solar project under IFC’s new clean technology investment program.
Once fully operational, the project will expand capacity to produce over 20,000 megawatt hours of clean energy annually to reach a hundred villages in several Indian states, and more than 10,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions will be avoided annually.
Helion Venture Partners and Foundation Capital, leading venture capital investors in clean technology companies that supported Azure with funding in September 2008, also participated in this second round.
“The support from IFC, Helion, and Foundation Capital is recognition of the potential of megawatt scale solar power generation in India,” said Inderpreet S. Wadhwa, Azure Power’s CEO. “As a pioneer, Azure has developed a strong pipeline of projects across India and is actively planning to add distributed generation capacity.”
A third of India’s population lacks access to electricity. Serious power shortages, with peak gaps at 11 percent, and poor supply reliability hamper industrial growth and competitiveness. With this project, IFC will help create new renewable energy-based generation capacity to meet rising demand. IFC’s long-term support to Azure Power will help attract the finance needed to sustain the flow of resources into this nascent sector.
“Azure Power will be the first direct investment for IFC in a megawatt grid-connected solar power project developer,” said Anita George, IFC Infrastructure Director for Asia. “The project, IFC’s first cleantech investment in South Asia, will go a long way in contributing to the development of the solar power generation sector.”
IFC’s clean technology investment program combines its early stage equity investment expertise and global infrastructure industry knowledge to support innovative clean technology companies. The Azure Power investment comes as India embarks on its ambitious 20,000 megawatt Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, which IBRD and IFC are jointly supporting.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD, it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by helping firms like Azure Power expand solar energy generation capacities.