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Solar sector funding drops to USD 25.3 bn in 2015

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Solar sector globally attracted corporate funding worth USD 25.3 billion in 2015 against that of USD 26.5 billion in 2014, says a report.

"Total global corporate funding in the solar sector, including venture capital/private equity (VC), debt financing, and public market financing, raised by public companies came to USD 25.3 billion, compared to USD 26.5 billion in 2014," according to a report by clean energy communications and consulting firm Mercom Capital Group.

Mercom Capital Group CEO Raj Prabhu said that overall it was a good year for the solar sector considering the turbulence in the stock markets and trouble with "yieldcos in the second half of the year. The extension of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was a much needed boost for the sector, paving the way for a strong 2016."

Global VC investments came to USD 1.1 billion in 83 deals in 2015, compared to USD 1.3 billion in 85 deals in 2014, the statement said.

Despite a weak fourth quarter, public market financing had its strongest year with almost USD 6 billion raised in 38 deals, compared to the 2014 record of USD 5.2 billion in 52 deals.

"The regulations are yet to be finalised in some key

states and in states where they are, there is a wide variation in terms of allowed project capacity, eligibility criterion, exemptions provided, tariff rate for the power exported to the grid, and settlement period," Majumdar added.

Further, there is a likelihood of state-owned distribution utilities (discoms) resisting due to loss of revenue from cross subsidising industrial /commercial consumers adopting the rooftop solar segment.

"We are of the view that effective implementation of the rooftop solar PV projects would thus require support from discoms, overall consistency in net metering regulations across the states, as well as upgradation of infrastructure by the discoms so as to effectively integrate the surplus power exported by the consumers to the grid," he said.

However, Icra noted that while there is no subsidy support for rooftop installations by industrial and commercial (I&C) segments, the improved cost competitiveness of solar PV energy at about Rs 5.5 per unit, led by a fall in PV module prices, makes it economically feasible for I&C customer segments, given that the prevailing commercial grid tariffs are high, in the range of Rs 6-10 per unit across states.

First Published: Mon, January 11 2016. 20:42 IST