UK, India strengthen solar ties with new commitments

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Working together as equal partners under the name EverSource Capital, the U.K.-headquartered renewable energy developer, Lightsource and the Indian private equity investor, Everstone, will target contracted power, distribution infrastructure and energy services in India via the Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF).

Acting as co-anchors, the U.K. Government and India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have each committed £120 million (around US$170 million) to the GGEF.

“UK and India contributions are investments that will generate returns for each country,” wrote Lightsource, 43% of which belongs to oil and gas major, BP, in a statement announcing the news.

Overall, the fund has a target of £500 million investment. To achieve this, the GGEF aims to raise funds from international institutional investors to invest into areas such as renewable energy, clean transportation, water and waste management, and other emerging technologies and sectors in India.

In so doing, the GGEF is expected to underpin India’s efforts towards its 2022 renewable energy target of 175 GW, the majority of which comprises solar PV.

“By using a pooled investment vehicle and a Public plus Private Partnership approach global investors will get the opportunity to be part of this exceptional investment platform,” said Sameer Sain, Co-Founder and CEO, Everstone Group.

He continued, “Everstone and Lightsource BP via their joint venture EverSource Capital are proud to have been selected as the Investment Manager for this fund (GGEF), and will also be making a significant investment along with the U.K. government and NIIF.”

While the GGEF is set up as an alternative investment fund under India’s Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Regulations, in future funds will be raised under the EverSource Capital platform.

UK welcomes India’s solar efforts, joins ISA

The U.K. government also announced this week its membership in the India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA), ahead of the Indian Prime Minister’s, Narendra Modi’s state visit to the U.K.

While the U.K. will not supply financial support, it will provide expertise, and support the ISA in developing solar water pump projects and help in increasing the number of mini grids supplying power to remote areas, which cannot be reached by the main electricity grid.

Speaking at an event held this week at the London Stock Exchange as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM), U.K. International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt said, “The signing of this treaty is a momentous occasion for the UK, and demonstrates our continued commitment to providing the very best of British expertise to the renewable energy sector.

“With the UK joining the International Solar Alliance, the lives of almost a billion of the world’s poorest people, across the Commonwealth and beyond, will be changed for the better.”

Overall, the ISA aims to deploy over 1,000 GW of solar energy, via the mobilization of more than US$1 trillion, by 2030.