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Business News/ Companies / News/  Applied Solar Technologies raises $40 million
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Applied Solar Technologies raises $40 million

The fresh round of funding was led by Future Fund, the Australian govt's sovereign wealth fund

Photo: MintPremium
Photo: Mint

Mumbai: Delhi-based solar power company Applied Solar Technologies (India) Pvt. Ltd (AST) has raised $40 million in a fresh round of funding led by Future Fund, the Australian government’s sovereign wealth fund.

AST’s existing private equity investors Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP), Capricorn Investment Group and World Bank investment arm International Finance Corp. (IFC) also participated in the round.

The deal comes in the backdrop of a government initiative to raise India’s solar power capacity to 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2022 from around 3 GW now. The government estimates the sector will need about $100 billion in investment to achieve the target.

“We closed a $40 million round in AST recently. Future Fund led the round and all existing investors participated," said Vishal Gupta, managing director at BVP’s Bengaluru office said.

AST co-founder and CEO Kapil Kathpalia, however, declined to comment on the capital raised. “Our business is capex intensive and we continue to raise capital to meet our business demands. As a matter of company policy, we don’t comment on the amount of capital raised or our investors," Kathpalia said in an email.

The investment, which closed late last month, is AST’s fourth funding round to date, taking its overall private equity funding to more than $85 million.

In 2009, BVP, the Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm, invested an undisclosed amount in the company. In 2010, IFC led a $21 million second round of funding; BVP participated in the round. This was followed by a $24.6 million round in 2012 in which BVP, IFC and Skoll Foundation-backed Capricorn Investment Group participated.

Email queries sent to a spokesperson of Melbourne-based Future Fund had $117 billion in assets under management as on 31 March did not elicit a response.

AST, founded in 2008 by Vinod Agarwal, Kathpalia and Neeraj Saxena, provides off-grid solar power to the telecom and banking sectors. Off-grid power is electricity generated from renewable energy sources without accessing the main grid. The firm offers alternative power sources to telecom operators and banks which often rely on diesel-based power generation for infrastructure such as telecom towers and ATMs.

“We are currently the country’s largest distributed solar power company with approximately 4,000 locations commissioned in terrains such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan," Kathpalia said.

Apart from AST, other major renewable power players active in the Indian market include Nasdaq-listed firms SunEdison Inc. and First Solar Inc. The Belmont, California-headquartered SunEdison, told the Wall Street Journal earlier this month that it will invest $15 billion in India over the next seven years. This would be in addition to the $2 billion that it will invest via a joint venture with Adani Group for manufacturing solar power equipment. Gurgaon-based ReNew Power Ventures, one of the handful of local players in renewable power generation, is also boosting capacity. Mint reported on 29 May that the firm, founded by former Suzlon Energy CEO Sumant Sinha, is trying to raise $150-200 million to generate an additional 400 MW of solar power.

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Published: 08 Jun 2015, 12:16 AM IST
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