Armstrong Energy sells Indian solar portfolio

The pool of assets, which comprises an initial pipeline of 50MW ready for construction, is due to build up to 350MW by 2018.

Armstrong Energy Global, the Indian solar arm of London-based asset manager Armstrong Energy, has sold its development team and pipeline in India to Ahana Renewables, a subsidiary of ATN, the Massachusetts-based telecommunications services provider. 

Ahana has retained the Armstrong management team to oversee the development, construction and operation of the pipeline through a new company, Vibrant Energy Holdings, majority-owned by Ahana. 

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Armstrong hadn’t responded to an emailed query by press time. 

Vibrant Energy has an initial pipeline of about 50MW of solar projects in Southern India ready for construction in the next six to nine months. It is targeting to build a total of 250MW to 350MW in solar energy projects in India by 2018, Armstrong said in a statement. 

Customers for the initial projects are private commercial and industrial enterprises. Vibrant Energy expects to build on this customer segment for its new developments located across states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Telangana.

The company expects to fund the acquisition, operating costs and the development and construction of this pipeline with an initial capital investment of $50 million to $100 million, complemented by debt and other funding sources under discussion with a clutch of institutions.

“Our large development pipeline of solar projects in India and dedicated local team combined with Ahana’s experience and financial resources will enable us to meet our goal of delivering hundreds of megawatts of clean, reliable electricity to customers in a country where supply can still be unreliable,” said Ramnath Nandakumar, Armstrong’s managing director. 

“We believe India is today the most exciting country in the world for solar power, and we don't think we could have found a better partner than Ahana to meet this market opportunity.”

“In addition to India's favorable climate conditions and unmet energy needs, solar energy development costs in many regions of India has reached grid parity, providing an opportunity for attractive investment returns without reliance on direct government subsidy,” added Jason Tai, Ahana’s managing director. 

Armstrong, which first built a portfolio in UK in 2010, entered the Indian market with a target to build a 1GW portfolio in the country by 2020. Before the sale, the company had already secured a pipeline of 310MW across six sites, according to its website. 

Focused on distributed infrastructure in the renewables space, Ahana invests, owns and operates power assets for utility and commercial customers in the US and emerging markets. It currently operates a $220 million portfolio of solar installations across the US with a combined capacity of 47MW, its website says.