Driving innovation in India’s renewables sector

03 June 2019

MIRA-managed UK Climate Investments (UKCI) forms part of the UK’s International Climate Finance – a commitment from the UK Government to support developing countries respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.

In 2018, UKCI co-invested in a 185 MW portfolio of solar farms in India. In addition to providing enough clean electricity to power approximately 315,000 homes, the portfolio was used to establish the first offshore renewables strategy of its kind in India.

Enabling clean growth

India’s population and economy are expanding quickly. Over the next three decades, the country is forecast to add another 273 million people to its population and become the world’s second largest economy1,2. To enable this development, electricity demand is expected to double3 – with renewables set to play an increasingly important role in the country’s energy mix.

As part of its mandate to promote clean growth in developing economies, UKCI acquired a 40 per cent stake in a 185 MW portfolio of solar farms located in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Built to world-class standards in regions highly dependent on fossil-fuel based generation, the four solar farms will help avoid approximately 330ktpa of harmful CO2 emissions over their operational lives4.

In addition to contributing to India’s target of 500 GW of installed renewables capacity by 2030, the solar farms will provide a reliable, safe and clean source of electricity for approximately 315,000 homes each year. The portfolio will also help drive improvements in local air quality and health outcomes for some of India’s poorest – reducing the amount of harmful particulates in the air by displacing conventional generation

Solar farm, Madhya Pradesh

Accelerating renewables deployment

UKCI’s investment represents an important development in one of the world’s fastest growing renewables markets, with the portfolio used to establish the first offshore renewables strategy of its kind in India.

By acquiring equity in operational renewable projects, the strategy enables initial stage developers to unlock and recycle more expensive development capital. In doing so, the vehicle also demonstrates that a secondary market for Indian renewables projects exists – giving developers the confidence they need to commit to new greenfield projects in the country.

It is hoped that the successful demonstration of this model could pave the way for more sophisticated investment in India’s green economy – mobilising additional private sector capital to help meet India’s growing clean energy needs.

Adapting to a changing climate

Following a successful pilot, UKCI and its co-shareholders approved a £1.2 million investment to install robotic waterless cleaning technology at the vehicle’s Bhadla Solar park in Rajasthan.

The technology will adapt the plant, which is located in a water-stressed region, for the expected future impacts of climate change. By reducing the plant’s reliance on already scarce water, this innovative technology will ensure that the solar farm continues to operate efficiently whilst increasing the availability of water for use by local communities and farmers.

"UKCI is delighted to provide the necessary long-term capital to cornerstone this market innovation, helping the continued development of India’s fast-growing renewables sector..”

Richard Abel
Managing Director, UK Climate Investments

All information current as 25 July 2019, unless otherwise stated.

  1. World Population Prospects 2017 Revision, United Nations Population Division
  2. The World in 2050, 2017, PWC 
  3. Global Energy Perspective 2019: Reference Case, Energy Insights by McKinsey
  4. Based on internal calculations

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