IFC to help India finance ‘world’s largest’ solar project

The World Bank member is helping attract the $750m needed to fund the single-site facility.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has agreed to help the Indian government attract funding to build the 750-megawatt (MW) Rewa solar farm, in central India.

The finance institution, part of the World Bank Group, needs to raise an estimated $750 million to construct the project and will work with India’s Renewable Energy Department and Australia’s Department of Foreign Trade to procure the financing. The project will occupy around 1,300 hectares of land in the state of Madhya Pradesh and Power Grid Corporation is constructing a nearby transmission substation for the solar farm to feed.

The project is expected to be the largest single-site solar farm in the world.

The Solar Energy Corporation of India and Madhya Pradesh Urja Vika Nigam Limited have created a partnership company, Rewa Ultra-Mega Solar Power Limited, to develop the project.

Rajendra Shukla, Madhya Pradesh’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Minerals, said Rewa will generate renewable energy that is competitively priced. The project will help the state meet its renewable purchase obligation, a mandate that requires Indian states to generate a certain amount of renewable energy.

India currently generates some 4 gigawatts (GW) of solar power and is aiming to increase that to 100GW over the next five years. It also has about 20GW of wind power and is targeting 60GW by 2022.

“With this project, India can demonstrate to the world that innovative business models and partnerships to build scale can help achieve challenging goals,” said IFC’s regional director for South Asia, Mengistu Alemayehu.

IFC invested $1.4 billion in India in 2015, increasing its total portfolio in the country to $5 billion. In January, the finance institution provided a $100 million loan and a $65 million equity contribution to ACME Solar Energy Private, for the development of power plants in north-west India. IFC has been active elsewhere in Asia, financing its first project in Indonesia last August, the 62.5MW Jeneponto 1 wind farm.