CANADA: P2 Solar Inc. has acquired a unique renewable energy project to develop a mini-hydro facility in Punjab, India, on the Sidhwan irrigation canal in the city of Ludhiana.
P2 now owns the project outright through its new wholly owned subsidiary, Jagat Energy Private Limited and will be moving to begin construction as soon as this summer.
The project involves the installation of a 700 KW mini-hydro facility in a minor canal diversion project, creating little impact on the water channel and surrounding terrain. This type of hydro power installation has long been used around the world and is highly environmentally sustainable. The project provides rights to several kilometers of canal space, so the possibility for significant project expansion over phases is extensive. A PV Solar power plant can be built on the free space above the canal as well.
P2 expects the project to generate significant revenues. The mini-hydro component has projected revenues of $443,000 per year; the solar component has projected revenues of $2.95 million per year based on the potential for 10 MW of solar PV arrays. These projects are capital intensive but have low operating costs, therefore they are projected to generate significant cash flows, with EBITDA margins estimated to be 95 percent and 93 percent for mini-hydro and solar, respectively.
The state of Punjab has thousands of kilometers of canals, which they are assessing for similar mini-hydro potential. A few projects have already been built and the government is now driving hard to harness additional sites. The authorities are keen to use the free space above the canals to place solar PV facilities.
The hydro projects potential is in the hundreds of megawatts in Punjab alone. Other states are also looking at similar systems, so the total potential of mini-hydro in India is multiple times that of Punjab state. Adding a solar component significantly increases the renewable energy potential from a hybrid approach. The company is devoting significant attentions towards realizing this complete vision.
India has an acute need for expanding electrical capacity. Indian electrical demand is growing at some of the highest rates in the world, 10 percent annually. Traditional fossil fuel powered electricity production, including from domestic and imported coal and "backup" power generation from diesel generators is rapidly increasing in price due to fuel shortages and the desire to shift to clean energy, said Raj-Mohinder Gurm, P2's CEO.
Recently, grid electricity prices for some consumers have been increasing at 10-20 percent per year in parts of India. By contrast, renewable energy prices are falling rapidly. India's clean energy sector is already a $20 billion annual opportunity, with high annual growth rates.