UK-based solar company Lightsource BP has announced the completion of its first utility-scale project in India.
The firm, which has been backed by oil and gas giant BP since December, is Europe’s biggest solar power developer.
The new solarfarm is in Wagdari, Maharashtra, spanning 240 acres and consisting of 200,000 ground-mounted LONGi Solar photovoltaic panels. The site can generate up to 60MW of electricity, enough to provide power to around 20,000 homes.
Lightsource BP won the contract for the project through a tender process by the Government of India, managed by the Solar Energy Corporation India and completed in September 2016.Although Lightsource BP has not disclosed details of the project’s cost, the company said it was financed in collaboration with UK Climate Investments – a joint venture between the Green Investment Group and the UK energy department.
Energy Minister Claire Perry voiced her support of the department’s contribution to the project, saying it was a perfect example of how the government should “capitalise on the opportunities created by the global transition to low carbon”, and expressing her hope that similar moves would be seen in future.
She said it was also a good example of the public and private sectors working together to deliver “climate, development and growth objectives that will benefit the entire planet”, as well as showcasing the UK’s ability to export its solar expertise to other countries.
BP’s interest in Lightsource followed its study which found that global solar capacity more than tripled over the past four years, with BP predicting solar will soon support approximately one third of the world’s total renewable power and up to 10% of total global power by 2035.The company has pledged £150m over the next three years to Lightsource in exchange for a 43% share in the London-based firm. Lightsource added ‘BP’ to its company name following the deal.
Of the collaboration, Lightsource chief executive Nick Boyle said it would be key to “accelerating the low-carbon transition”.
Currently, Lightsource BP manages around 2GW of capacity under long-term operations and maintenance contracts – the equivalent of powering more than half a million homes using clean energy.While it is Lightsource BP’s first utility-scale project in India, it is not the first time the company has demonstrated interest in the region’s clean energy potential. In April, the solar firm embarked on a joint venture with Indian private equity firm Green Growth Equity Fund (GGEF), dubbed EverSource Capital. In the collaboration, the duo formed a fund management platform of the same name, the Green Growth Equity Fund, for investing in green infrastructure in India, with a launch fund target of $710m (£500m). India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and the UK Government have already invested £120m each in the GGEF platform.
India is one of the fastest growing markets for renewable energy sources, currently housing around 60GW of installed renewable capacity, with plans to add a further 115GW by 2022, expected to cost around $125bn (£94.3bn).