Vinod Khosla-backed Sun Borne Energy Holdings LLC has raised $5 million (Rs 28.4 crore) in VC funding as part of its plan to raise $20 million (Rs 113.5 crore) equity funding, according to information from the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities. The identity of the investors have not been disclosed.
Massachusetts-based SunBorne Energy, which was incorporated in 2008, operates in the solar energy spectrum. In India, the company’s business model is based on utility scale projects. SunBorne has successfully bid for several solar projects awarded by Gujarat (15 MW), Rajasthan (Phalodi), Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka (10 MW). It has drawn up massive expansion plans in the solar energy segment and aims to build over 1 GW of power in 5-7 years, underlining the enormous potential of the nascent solar power sector in India. SunBorne plans to commission more than 200 MW of capacity by 2014.
The solar power industry in India is still in nascent stage. SunBorne expects the high cost of solar power production, mainly attributed to the technology, to attain parity with conventional grid power by 2020. The company is also of the opinion that less than 5 per cent of India’s Thar Desert is sufficient for tapping solar power to generate enough power for meeting the country’s electricity requirement. As on April 30, the country’s installed solar capacity stood at 1 GW.
Realising the untapped solar power potential of the country and its own expansion plans here, SunBorne has been aggressively pursuing tie ups and chasing funds. In October 2011, the company joined hands with Europe-based IPP Eoxis Energy for executing its 15 MW solar photovoltaic (SPV) project in Gujarat. SunBorne’s had also entered into an agreement with Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd. of China for sourcing solar modules for the same project in May 2011.
SunBorne Energy secured $10 million (Rs 56.75 crore) from the International Finance Corporation, the private investment arm of the World Bank, via a mix of debt and equity in 2010. It had also raised Rs 140 crore ($25.45 million) in 2011 from a consortium of banks led by State Bank of Patiala.
SunBorne is backed by General Catalyst Partners, a US-based venture capital and private equity firm. General Catalyst Partners has raised more than $1.7 billion across five funds including a $600-million venture capital fund raised in 2007. The PE firm invests in technology with a focus on advanced materials, clean energy solutions, environment-related technologies and energy.
In India, SunBorne competes with Tata Power, SunEdison, Azure Power, Kiran Energy etc. While Azure Power has also secured IFC’s financial support, Kiran Energy raised $30 million and $50 million in VC funding under Series A and Series B respectively.
(Edited by Prem Udayabhanu)