Gurgaon-based telecom power solutions firm Acme Group has made an investment of $30 million for a 5% stake in California-based eSolar. The US-based company is involved in developing, constructing and deploying modular, scalable solar thermal power plants. Acme has also entered into an exclusive licensing agreement with the company. The deal involves Acme Group having exclusive rights to eSolar’s design to set up thermal solar power plants in India.
Acme can also work with other companies to build solar thermal power plants in India using eSolar technology. ACME is targeting 1,000 MW of solar power within India over the next 10 years. The company has already signed power purchase MOUs for 250 MW.
Though this is eSolar’s first international licensing agreement, it had entered into a similar agreement with US-based NRG Energy.
It raised $130 million in funding from Google.org (Google’s philanthropic arm), Idealab and Oak Investment Partners in April 2008.
eSolar was founded in 2007 by Idealab Inc founder Bill Gross and Asif Ansari. Idealab is an incubator based in Pasadena, California and its companies include Picasa, which was acquired by Google.
Acme’s main business is in manufacturing and supply of energy conservation solutions for telcos. Acme Telepower also provides “green shelter”, which gives thermal power backup to telecom towers. eSolar’s technology might have an application for Acme in this area. Acme Group
also has a presence in cold-chain storage and water & waste management. Acme Telepower was one of the most wooed firm by private equity funds couple of years ago and raised a pre-IPO round at $3 billion valuation. Failing to do an IPO, the firms promoters had to buyback the stake held by the private equity investors.
Another Indian corporate which has invested in US-based cleantech startups is Moser Baer. It has invested in three firms – SolFocus, which develops Concentrator Photovoltaic (CPV) systems; Stion Corporation, who develops photovoltaic cell technologies; and Solaria, which has developed a cheaper technology to produce solar cells.