Khosla-backed SunBorne Energy raising $20M for Indian solar


SunBorne Energy, backed by Khosla Ventures, is looking to raise $20 million, and has closed on $5 million, according to a filing. The company develops utility-scale solar power plants in India and has been bidding in various state-run solar auctions.

There were only about 54 MW of solar installed in India 2010. But that is expected to jump to 3 GW by 2016, according to the researchers at Greentech Media. That’s hyper growth, and a variety of startups have emerged over the past couple of years to try to play in this potentially huge market.

There’s four types of solar project players in India: large power companies like Tata Power; Indian conglomerates; foreign solar developers like SunEdison; and pure-play Indian solar companies like Kiran Energy in Mumbai,, Azure Power, in New Delhi, and SunBorne Energy, in Haryana.

Right now the Indian solar market is being driven by a government mandate. The government has been bidding out projects under a goal to deliver 3 percent of the country’s power via solar by 2022, which could deliver 25 GW of solar. Individual states also have their own solar plans.

India is really hungry for any kind of power — clean or dirty. Along with India’s rapidly growing GDP comes the population’s growing desire to consume more energy. There are regular rolling blackouts due to the constrained supply of electricity in many cities, and many Indians have no access to grid power at all. Add to that mix, the problems in the coal industry in India, and it creates a potentially huge market for Indian solar project developers.

Alan Rosling, the chairman and executive director of Kiran Energy, said to me in an interview in Mumbai last year:

“India is one of the few countries in the world where there’s demand for power, there’s land, and there’s sunshine. India is going to be an absolutely huge solar market.”

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