MIRA’s Green Investment Group in debut Indian deal

The unit is looking to fund up to 300MW of solar projects in India, under a partnership with UK solar developer Lightsource Renewable Energy.

Macquarie Infrastructure and Real AssetsGreen Investment Group has formed a partnership with London-headquartered Lightsource Renewable Energy to co-invest in large-scale solar farms in India.

The partners will target greenfield development and acquisition of operational utility-scale solar assets in India, as well as seed a platform that can create de-risked investment opportunities in the country, which they see as one of the world’s fastest-growing markets. The JV is being done through UK Climate Investments, the GIG’s £200 million ($264 million; €227 million) pilot programme to invest in India and sub-Saharan Africa.

The partnership has already been seeded with Lightsource’s 60MW project in the state of Maharashtra, which reached financial close this week. The project was secured by Lightsource in a competitive 450MW tender managed by Solar Energy Corporation of India.

UKCI has earmarked up to £30 million for a 49 percent stake in the seed project and for the broader partnership with Lightsource to develop and construct around 300MW of solar projects.

“Third-party funding and commercial project finance debt will support the initial and subsequent projects,” noted the investors, adding that the platform “will mobilise the large-scale deployment of institutional capital through Lightsource”.

India’s renewables industry has attracted institutional investors, such as ADIA, APG and GIC, in the recent few years. The south Asian country is targeting 175GW of renewable power installed by 2022, including 100GW of solar, 60GW of wind, 10GW of biomass and 5GW of small hydro.

The GIG, formerly known as the UK’s Green Investment Bank, was acquired by MIRA for £2.3 billion. It made its post-acquisition debut deal last month, providing £38 million of a debt package for a 70MW waste-to-energy facility in the UK.