GE invests $24 million in 151 MW PV project in India

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U.S. conglomerate General Electric (GE) has made its first investment in India’s burgeoning solar market with $24 million for a 151 MW PV installation.

The investment is part of the group’s GE Energy Financial Services new partnership with India’s Welspun Renewables Energy Pvt. Ltd. (WREPL) aimed atg expanding solar energy generation in the country.

WREPL, one of India’s leading clean energy generating companies, put the solar farm — located in the state of Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch District, into operation in August 2013, almost eight months ahead of schedule. The farm powers 624,000 homes and mitigates an estimated 216,372 tons of carbon emissions annually.

The Neemuch project, part of WREPL’s 308 MW operational solar portfolio, is located on an 800-acre site in Neemuch, which sits on a 500-meter-high barren land ridge in Madhya Pradesh. The site receives among the highest levels of irradiation in India.

Power from the project is sold to the Madhya Pradesh state utility, helping the country meet its target of 20 percent energy generation from renewable sources by 2020.

Vineet Mittal, WREPL vice chairman, said, "The combination of our renewable project development expertise and GE’s financial strength and risk management will help achieve the ambitious goals set by the government to expand the use of renewable energy in India."

Raghuveer Kurada, business leader for India and South East Asia at GE Energy Financial Services, added, "With its geography, strong economic growth and commitment from the highest levels of government, India has gained incredible potential for the development of solar power. Our investment in Welspun Renewables’ solar project helps to realize that potential. WREPL’s history of developing benchmark projects ahead of schedule and with high generation power output helps us expand globally across the energy spectrum and meet the world’s energy needs."

With this transaction, GE Energy Financial Services has exceeded $10 billion in cumulative renewable energy investment commitments worldwide, including $1.8 billion in solar power commitments in seven countries.

GE Energy Financial Services it would continue to invest more than $1 billion annually in wind, solar and other renewable energy projects, its fastest-growing energy sector and one that boosts sales of GE’s energy technology.

Since its formation in 2006, GE Energy Financial Services has invested in 17 GW of mostly wind and solar projects. Of the more than $10 billion in cumulative renewable energy equity and debt investment commitments, $8 billion are in more than 12 GW of wind farms and $1.7 billion in 1 GW of solar power installations, with the balance in other renewables. Geographically diversified, the projects span 16 countries and 28 states, helping 18 states meet their renewable portfolio standards.

"Our rapid growth in renewable energy investments benefits not only GE’s customers and shareholders but society at large," said David Nason, GE Energy Financial Services president and CEO. "These benefits will increase as we execute on a robust pipeline of prospective new investments that provide excellent risk–adjusted returns, serve as a catalyst for the growth of GE’s industrial energy business, and provide customer value."