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Lightsource Renewable Energy and the Macquarie group have entered into a partnership platform to fund the development, acquisition and ownership of large-scale solar power generation assets in India. Macquaire is entering the market through UK Climate Investments, part of the Green Investment Group within Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, and would put in GBP30 million (Rs 256 crore). UK Climate Investments and Lightsource will jointly target the greenfield development and acquisition of operational utility scale solar assets in India with the aim of seeding a platform that can create high-quality de-risked investment opportunities in one of the world’s fastest-growing solar markets. It will mobilise the large-scale deployment of institutional capital through Lightsource. The seed asset for the partnership will be Lightsource’s 60MWp project in Maharashtra, which reaches financial close with this announcement. Participating in a competitive tender process in 2016, Lightsource secured the project in a competitive 450 MW tender of Solar Energy Corporation India for Maharashtra. This equity investment is the first by the joint venture, which uses official development assistance from the International Climate Fund to leverage private investment into low carbon projects in India and Africa. Lightsource is Europe’s leading solar energy company and a global market leader in the development, acquisition and long-term management of international large-scale solar energy projects. Founded in 2010, the company has invested about $3.3 billion in over 300-projects. UK Climate Investments is a £200 million pilot investment programme mandated to invest in India and across sub-Saharan Africa. It will deploy capital in green projects on commercial terms, mobilising additional private sector investment on a sustainable basis to help the world’s developing economies adapt to climate change and promote greener growth.
UKCI is a joint venture between the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and UK Green Investment Climate International Limited (“GICIL”), a wholly owned subsidiary within the Macquarie Group.Over 200,000 solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, will be ground mounted across 240 acres. Upon completion, the solar farm will generate enough clean electricity to power around 20,000 homes, Macquaire said in a statement. While UK Climate Investments will provide 49% of the equity for the construction of the first project, it has earmarked up to GBP30 million in aggregate for this project and for a broader partnership with Lightsource to develop and construct up to a total of 300 MW of PV projects. Third party funding and commercial project finance debt will support the initial and subsequent projects. As part of the agreement, Lightsource will provide operations and asset management services for the platform in the long-term; building on the company’s experience providing these services in Europe. Nick Boyle, CEO for Lightsource said: “The UK Climate Investments partnership, and our first Indian project reaching financial close, are significant milestones in the growth of Lightsource. This project is a testament to the strength of the team we have in India, supported by a global project finance and operational capability, that have made this project a success. UK Climate Investments are a fantastic partner for us to seed the foundations of a large solar and smart energy investment and operating platform in India.” Martin Stanley, Global Head, Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets commented; “This first investment for UK Climate Investments will provide the necessary sponsor support for the first project in a very promising series of potential solar investments in India, in line with UKCI’s investment mandate. Working with the UK’s leading solar developer, we will look to stimulate a positive transformational impact by bringing industry-leading best practices of risk mitigation and management to the local market.”