Orix expands Indian renewables footprint to distributed solar

The Japanese investor is targeting the market with a new local partner after investing in a 1GW portfolio of wind assets alongside IL&FS last year.

Orix Corporation, a Tokyo-based financial group, is expanding its renewables presence in India by forming a partnership with emerging markets-focused Sun Group. 

The Japanese-Indian tie up has formed a joint venture, dubbed Sun Renewables, to focus on the development of distributed solar power generation assets for commercial and industrial clients in the South Asian country. 

Under the partnership, Orix will contribute its project development and management experience to the platform, in addition to an undisclosed amount of equity. The Japanese firm already owns a global solar portfolio totaling 1GW, which includes 570MW of commissioned assets and 150MW of distributed solar. 

India’s distributed solar market is expected to grow from 1GW of total installed capacity today to about 15GW by 2022, Sun Group said. This will present opportunities in rooftop as well as small ground-mounted projects for private and public sector offtakers, according to the firm. 

Orix declined to comment on its investment in the JV and the size of the platform’s project pipeline. Sun Group had not responded to queries for comment by press time. 

Orix’s expanded commitment to Indian renewables follows on its March 2016 partnership with IL&FS, an Indian infrastructure development and finance company, aiming to build a wind portfolio of more than 1GW in India. The partners knew each other before, as Orix has been a shareholder in IL&FS since 1993.

Earlier this week, Orix made a $627 million investment in US geothermal developer Ormat Technologies, a deal that followed a US solar development partnership it formed with IGS Solar in April.   

Owned by India’s Khemka family, Sun Group is a private equity fund manager with presence in India, Russia and other emerging markets. Its interests span sectors including oil and gas, infrastructure and real estate. 

The firm, which says it has invested more than $6 billion in India alone, backed one of the country’s first solar projects back in 2011.