Will India Be the Next Major Driver for Alternative Energy?

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With the future needs of domestic and global power set to go higher, and with emission standards becoming more strict, many industry watchers and alternative energy investors are wondering which markets will be the next major growth engine. It turns out that India could be the next major growth catalyst for developing alternative energy. One focus will be on solar, but wind and other power sources will have to play a factor as well.

24/7 Wall St. wanted to look at what companies are making which announcements around India, but also to see what outside sources have recently been looking at for India.

Credit Suisse met with officials from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) to discuss renewable energy goals for the coming years. The MNRE reiterated its bold target of 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2022, with the main segment consisting of solar (100 GW). Ultimately this would mean an addition of 97 GW of solar energy.

If FierceEnergy turns out to be right, it looks more like a breakout year for the South Asian subcontinent after the solar industry has remained relatively stagnant for three years.

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Companies such as SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE), First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR), Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) and JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: JKS) are looking to take advantage of the Indian market. Some efforts are new and some are ongoing. There are of course countless other efforts.

The increasing population and industrialization, improved standard of living and robust economic growth are all factors that have the end results of increasing the demand for electricity. It is no secret that much improvement is needed India’s infrastructure investment.

However, solar energy is not the only avenue for alternative energy that India is looking to pursue. A recent IPO debuted on the Indian market that received a very strong reaction from investors. Inox Wind planned to raise around $112 million through the initial public offering. The company is India’s fourth largest wind turbine generator manufacturer, with a market share of 7% in fiscal 2014. That offering was said to be almost 20 times oversubscribed.

There is always the possibility that China’s largest profitable solar company, Trina Solar, might develop manufacturing facilities in India in an effort to expand its production facilities around the world. Ultimately the company is looking to gain in a range of 20% to 30% of its production capability outside of China. At last look, Trina shares were changing hands at $12.34, in a 52-week trading range of $7.52 to $15.82. Recent news indicated that Trina intends to invest in a manufacturing facility in the next few years.

Another Chinese solar company, JinkoSolar distributes its solar products and sells its solutions and services to a diversified international utility, commercial and residential customer base in multiple countries (including India) and regions. JinkoSolar has built a vertically integrated solar product value chain, with an integrated annual capacity of 2.5 GW for silicon ingots and wafers, 2.0 GW for solar cells and 3.2 GW for solar modules, as of the end of December 2014. Jinko shares are around $26.07, in a 52-week trading range of $16.10 to $34.77.

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Even American companies are jumping into India, SunEdison announced a partnership earlier in 2015 with Brakes India to commission a 7.72 megawatt (MW) solar system for Brake’s facilities in Munanjipatti. This will give SunEdison a foothold in India and also open up options for other companies to approach the solar giant. Trading near $24.60, shares of SunEdison have a 52-week trading range of $13.09 to $24.84.

First Solar detailed in its most recent annual report:

There is significant potential for PV in India due to its growing energy needs, substantial population centers, a lack of electrification to many parts of the country, high competing energy costs, high levels of irradiance, and the aggressive renewable energy targets set by the government. In India, which accounted for less than 1% of our net sales, the Central Government has initiated actions to roll out Phase-III of its Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission.

This aims to install 22 GW of new solar electricity generating capacity by 2022, so it will be a fair piece of the pie for India’s aggressive plan. Shares of First Solar traded most recently at $6o.58. They have changed hands between $39.18 and $74.84 in the past year.

The Chinese companies, Trina and JinkoSolar have market caps of $1 billion and $814 million, respectively. As for the American companies, First Solar has a market cap of $6.1 billion and SunEdison has a market cap of $6.7 billion.

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