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SunEdison may sell solar projects, lay off 5% staff

Shreya Jai  |  New Delhi 

SunEdison to lay off 10% India workforce, sell off Solar Mission projects

SunEdison India may sell the solar power projects it won as part of the flagship National Solar Mission. The company is also laying off 5-10 per cent of its Indian workforce. A senior analyst in know of the developments said SunEdison had put up all solar projects won between 2011 and 2014 for sale.

“The viability of the projects and the bids received become questionable when they are put on the block before construction. Commissioned projects will also face sell-off pressure because bids between 2011 and 2014 were in the range of Rs 6-8 per unit,” said a senior government official.

SunEdison, a major US solar power company, has been operating in India for five years and recently quoted a historic low tariff of Rs 4.63 per unit for a 500 Mw solar power project. “The company may adopt the warehouse model, where it develops projects and then sells them,” SunEdison said.

  • Total renewable energy assets in India: 1,300 Mw
  • Solar power projects: 1,000 Mw, Operational solar projects: 600 Mw, Projects under solar mission: 380 Mw
  • SunEdison won 500 Mw Solar Park in Andhra Pradesh at Rs 4.63/unit — the lowest tariff in Indian solar projects
  • Announced acquiring 400 Mw wind assets of Continuum, called off the deal
  • 100 Mw wind assets of Spanish developer Fersa acquired this year
  • To change strategy to ‘build and sell’

SunEdison executives Business Standard contacted said a global glut had forced the layoffs. “The company circulated a list of employees that could have been asked to leave or had been told to look for opportunities elsewhere. A dozen have moved on in the past two months,” said an executive who did not wish to be named.

“About five per cent has been the attrition as part of the restructuring,” Pashupathy Gopalan, SunEdison’s president for the Asia-Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa, said at a press conference in Chennai. SunEdison has around 250 employees in India.

The company also said it had decided to terminate its acquisition of Continuum Wind Energy projects in India. SunEdison was planning to acquire 412.5 Mw of Continuum’s wind projects. SunEdison, however, said it had completed the acquisition of Spanish developer Fersa’s 100 Mw wind assets in Karnataka and Rajasthan.

“The company wants to preserve cash. This is in line with recent decisions to align business operations globally with current and future market opportunities,” Gopalan said. “We are also looking at raising money from private investors and selling assets. Globally, SunEdison sells around 10 per cent of its portfolio on average,” Gopalan told Business Standard.

SunEdison will sell cash yielding assets to TerraForm Global, which may come out with an initial public offer. Gopalan said the company would put only operational assets up for sale. SunEdison has 380 Mw of solar power projects in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Around 157 Mw are operational and rest is yet to be commissioned.

First Published: Wed, November 25 2015. 00:49 IST