Trina Solar of China is keen to invest in Indian solar power projects as part of its wider strategy to expand the market for its own solar modules and photovoltaic cells, the head of its local partner said.
The company is keen on under-construction projects and distress opportunities in India’s renewable energy sector, said Raj Kumar Roy, founder director at Engenrin Energy Pvt. Ltd, a renewable energy startup which is the development and engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) partner for Trina Solar in India.
“Trina Solar is keen to expand its project development businesses in India by either partnering with large developers to offer EPC-plus-financing or by buying out projects struggling for finance. Trina’s strategy, across Asia and Australia, is to develop a project of global standards and then sell these de-risked cash flow-generating projects to pure financial investors," Roy said in an interview.
So far, Trina has evaluated four to five such projects in India and is currently at an advanced stage of evaluating assets of 50-150 MW size in Gujarat and Odisha, Roy said. The target is to do 100-150 MW projects in the first year and then scale up based on the experience with these projects.
For Trina, this is a win-win situation. As a solar module manufacturer, Trina is currently among the top five suppliers to Indian power developers. While the company will not participate in the reverse auction process to bid for new projects, it will help under-construction projects reach completion.
The projects will be completed with Trina modules and the Chinese firm will also provide competitive long-term project financing to the developer. Once the project is operational, if the developer can’t provide an exit to Trina either through alternative financing or by sale of the project, Trina will exercise its right to take over the asset.
“Trina definitely feels that they need to increase their market share and the development strategy will help increase their share in Indian market given that these projects will be set up with Trina modules," Roy said.
Project execution in utility scale renewable capacity addition has slowed down in the past 18 months. Research from renewable energy consultant Bridge to India estimated that in July-September, capacity addition stood at only 2,549 MW (solar 2,114 MW and wind 435MW), at about two-thirds of scheduled capacity addition and far below the record high of 5,111 MW added in Q1 2018.