NEW DELHI : French energy giant Total SA has agreed to acquire 50% in Adani Group’s solar assets for $510 million, in one of the biggest transactions in India’s clean energy industry.

Total will own half of a joint venture company that will house the solar assets of Adani Green Energy Ltd, which has a 2,148MW solar project portfolio across 11 states, the companies said in a joint statement on Thursday. Adani Green Energy will own the balance 50% in the joint venture.

The transaction, the second major proposed investment by the French energy major in a company controlled by billionaire Gautam Adani, comes amid a tough phase for India’s clean energy sector. The renewable energy industry is facing a tight lending environment, mounting dues from utilities and record low tariffs. The low solar and wind power tariffs have made banks wary of lending to renewable energy developers as they suspect the viability of the projects.

Overall, Adani Green Energy has a renewable energy project portfolio of 6GW, including under-construction capacity. It is also a successful bidder in state-run Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd’s tender of 8GW manufacturing-linked development project for setting up solar power capacity.

“We are delighted to extend our long-term partnership with Total to our renewable energy business," Adani Group chairman Gautam Adani said in the statement. He was referring to Total’s plan, announced in October, to buy a 37.4% stake in Adani Gas for around 5,700 crore.

India is running what will become the world’s largest clean energy programme with an aim of having 175GW of clean energy capacity by 2022 as part of its global climate change commitments. The country plans to add 100GW of solar capacity by 2022, including 40GW from rooftop projects.

“Total is fully engaged in the energy transition and to supporting India, a key country in the fight against climate change, in diversifying its energy mix through partnerships in natural gas and now in solar energy," Total chief executive officer CEO Patrick Pouyanne said in the statement. “This interest in over 2GW of solar projects represents a real change of scale of our presence in India’s renewable energy sector, which has very significant growth potential in the coming years. It will contribute to our ambition to deploy 25GW of renewable energy by 2025."

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