Ayala energy firm expands with solar farm in India

Published July 20, 2020, 10:00 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

AC Energy Inc. of the Ayala group has plunged into another offshore investment expansion – this time with the 100-megawatt (140-megawatt peak) Sitara solar farm in India that would command capital outlay of US$68 million.

The project will be Ayala group’s another tie-up with Hongkong-based UPC Renewables, which is also using its subsidiary UPC Solar Asia Pacific, for this particular venture.

It will be the Ayala firm’s initial renewable energy investment in India, which is one of the energy markets it targeted for its 5,000MW RE portfolio buildup until year 2025.

The solar farm will be sited in Rajasthan, a desert state in India which was classified to have “the highest irradiation” in that country.

The solar plant is expected to be on-stream first quarter of 2021, and “will supply energy to the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI),” AC Energy has noted.

As emphasized, the tandem of UPC and AC Energy Solar bagged the power supply agreement (PSA) for the project through a competitive bidding – in which they submitted an offer of INR (Indian rupee) 2.48 per kilowatt hour (KWh), fixed over a 25-year period.

Pranab Kumar Sarmah, chief executive of UPC-AC Energy Solar and co-founder of UPC Solar Asia Pacific said “the commencement of Sitara Solar’s construction is a head start for the joint venture to achieve its more than 1.0-gigawatt target of operating solar project portfolio across Asia in a few years.”

In AC Energy’s assessment, “India has emerged as a country with one of the largest clean energy expansion programs, with the support from government and investors in driving growth.”

AC Energy President and CEO Eric Francia indicated that given India’s preeminence as one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for renewable energy, their company “looks forward to participating in this market as we continue to expand around the region.”

India has mega-ambitions when it comes to RE investments – with it targeting 175 gigawatts of RE capacity by 2022 – the bulk of which will be for solar installations at 100GW; then wind at 60GW; biopower at 10GW; and hydropower at 5.0GW.

According to Brian Caffyn, chairman of UPC Renewables, their firm’s renewable energy project pipelines across Asia Pacific region, “will account for a significant part of AC Energy’s 2025 renewable energy capacity target.”

Patrice Clausse, chief operating officer of AC Energy International, noted that as the two companies joined forces again for that new venture in India, “we will continue to push for the deployment of new technologies and best practices to harness India’s growth potential for clean energy, while contributing to their renewable energy goals.”