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Solar veterans team up with Kotak, EIB for investment

Three experienced solar professionals in India are raising funds to invest in solar projects in India.

Three seasoned professionals with over three decades of industry experience, Tanya Singhal, Anil Nayar, and James Abraham have founded SolarArise, which is in the process of raising Rs 200 crore for investments in the solar industry in India.

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India is one of the world’s most promising solar markets due to the high amount of solar insolation received by the country and the rising requirement of energy. However, so far, it is countries like Germany and Sweden, where the sun’s rays are much less powerful than they are in India, that have made the biggest advancement in solar deployment.

Unlike many other players in the sector, SolarArise will focus on the long-term ownership and management of solar power projects.

The Company expects to raise equity of approximately Rs. 600 crore. The first tranche, which is in excess of Rs. 200 crore, has been approved by CIIF, an Indian infrastructure private equity fund sponsored by the Kotak Mahindra Group and received initial approval by the Investment Committee of GEEREF, a fund advised by the European Investment Bank Group (EIB) and will amount to one of the largest private equity financings in the Indian solar power sector. SolarArise will raise additional capital in the coming months.

Tanya Singhal said: “We will work with developers, EPC players, and others to build plants across several states in India.”

SolarArise aims to implement a relatively low-risk portfolio of around 250MW, through both acquisitions and new developments and demonstrate the long-term value of solar projects to both investors and the country. James Abraham sees further value in improving the operations of plants. “People believe that solar plants require very little oversight. We’ve learned that the difference between a good plant and a mediocre one is careful monitoring and optimisation.”

Commenting on the transaction, Mr. Suman Saha, Head, Kotak Infrastructure Fund said, “The commitment to SolarArise is consistent with CIIF’s strategy of selectively investing in geographically diversified portfolios in India’s renewable power sector. We look forward to partnering the SolarArise management to build a high quality portfolio”.

Anil Nayar feels that securing long-term capital is key for the growth of the sector. “Our management team has the depth and breadth of experience for all aspects of the value stream. Working with our cornerstone investors, we will build the first long-term yield generating solar platform in India”.

All three professionals have been in the solar sector for over 5 years and have developed and managed some of India’s early utility-scale solar plants. The team also led the policy development for the government’s early solar programs.

Prior to their solar experience, Mr. Nayar was a senior partner with KPMG, James Abraham and Tanya Singhal were Senior Partner and Senior Consultant respectively with The Boston Consulting Group.

SolarArise will build a strong portfolio of solar projects, working together with developers and EPC players. The Company will own and manage these projects over the long-term, leveraging the team’s operational and financial expertise in the solar sector.

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