US solar giant SunEdison has signed deals with the Indian Government to build the largest solar manufacturing facility in India as well as provide 5GW’s of solar and wind energy in Karnataka over the next 5 years.
India has a population of around 1.3 billion people and around 400 million of those don’t have electricity. SunEdison has announced that it has signed two memorandums of understanding with India – one to build a $4 billion solar manufacturing facility together with Indian power operater, Adani Enterprises and secondly to develop 5GW’s of renewable energy within 5 years in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Their first agreement is the solar facility, based in the north Indian state of Gujarat, which will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 7.5GW’s making it the largest in India. It will create around 4500 direct jobs in the area and a further 15 000 indirect jobs. “This facility will create ultra-low cost solar panels that will enable us to produce electricity so cost effectively it can compete head to head, unsubsidized and without incentives, with fossil fuels,” said Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison, in a statement.
Their second agreement ensures that 5GW’s of solar energy and wind power will be installed over the next 5 years – of that, 1.5GW’s will be developed by the end of this year. SunEdison has stated that the electricity produced by the 5GW’s of solar power and wind energy would be competitive with coal-fired generation (as most places are reaching grid parity unsubsidised now). SunEdison has experience in India providing power to those who have previously never had electricity however this will be their first wind installations there.
“Karnataka’s comprehensive energy policy paves the way for socially and environmentally responsible economic growth and prosperity by addressing the energy needs of utility customers, distributed generation customers, and farmers who can benefit from solar water pumps for irrigation,” stated Pashupathy Gopalan, President of SunEdison, Asia-Pacific.
India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, was previously Chief Minister of Gujarat. He is a firm believer in renewable energy and solar power. Together with supportive policy he has helped in aiding the country from having a renewable energy capacity of under 4GW’s to now having over 27GW’s worth. Modi wants foreign investors to lead the charge and invest $100 billion to increase solar energy capacity by 33 times to reach 100GW’s.
”The energy leadership in the state is determined to make a significant positive impact for the people and businesses of Karnataka, and we are excited about the opportunity to work with them to make this positive change,” said Mr Gopalan.
SunEdison and its subsidiary, TerraForm Power Inc, have made an agreement to purchase US wind company, First Wind Holdings Inc, for $2.4 billion – making SunEdison the world’s largest renewable energy developer.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. It includes an upfront payment of $1.9 billion and a further $510 million on the completion of backlog wind projects. TerraForm Power is a Yieldco, which is a publicly traded company formed to own operating assets that produce a predictable cash flow. As such, they will take over First Wind’s operating portfolio of around 510MW’s worth around $862 million.
“Wind is a great asset class and we see tremendous growth potential. For us this is a logical expansion into renewables,” says TerraForm Chief Executive Officer Carlos Domenech.
Also included in the deal is around 1.6GW’s of pipeline and backlog projects that should be operational in 2016 / 17 (to be handed down to TerraForm Power) and 6.4GW’s of development opportunities. TerraForm is expected to add 4.6GW’s of capacity, wind and solar, to its portfolio by the end of 2017.
“The acquisition of First Wind transforms both SunEdison and TerraForm Power into diversified renewable energy companies and will make SunEdison the leading renewable power plant developer in the world,” said Ahmad Chatila, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunEdison.
“We are excited to become part of the SunEdison team,” said Paul Gaynor, Chief Executive Officer of First Wind. “This new strategic organization will allow us to join with SunEdison to develop and invest in new, long-term-contracted, well-sited and well-run renewable energy projects that deliver clean energy to homes and businesses across the country and internationally.”
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SunEdison has signed an agreement with one of the world’s largest copper mining companies, Antofagasta Minerals S.A., to install a solar power system to help power some of the Los Pelambres mine.
A 69.5MW system is to be installed and supply some of the electricity demand of the mine. This mine also uses wind energy for some of its electricity and plans to install hydro power as well. By 2015 they expect that 30% of their electricity demand will come from renewable sources.
The 69.5MW Javiera solar photovoltaic project is under construction and will be commissioned and connected to the grid early next year under a 20 year contract.
“This landmark project reinforces SunEdison’s ability to offer competitive, innovative and sustainable energy solutions to its customers and reaffirms SunEdison’s leading role in Latin America,” said Jose Perez, president of SunEdison for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
Antofagasta is looking to keep adding renewables as they reported a 5% increase in CO2 emissions between 2012 and 2013 and had total emissions of 2.2million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2013.