Indian Railways Ties Up with New Strategic Partners to Execute Solar Projects

MoU signed with Ayana Renewable Power and NIIFL


IRCON International Limited (IRCON), a public sector enterprise, signed a Memorandum of Understanding  (MoU) with the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund Limited (NIIFL) and Ayana Renewable Power Private Limited. Through this agreement, the three entities aim to explore and collaborate on opportunities in the solar energy sector.

According to a filing on BSE Limited, NIIFL and IRCON will evaluate strategic partnerships across infrastructure projects and have also agreed in-principle to identify and execute solar projects either through joint ventures or consortium arrangements.

IRCON, formerly Indian Railways Construction Company Limited, is a specialized construction organization under the Ministry of Railways. It covers the entire spectrum of construction activities and services in the infrastructure sector. Ayana is an independent power producer with 800 MW of renewable energy projects under development.  NIIF, anchored by the central government, is a fund manager that invests in infrastructure and related sectors in India.

“The partnership will further consider suitable opportunities for solar energy production for the Indian Railways as they intend to increase the share of renewables in their overall energy mix. This collaboration will enable execution of renewable energy projects at scale by utilizing the complementary strengths of all partners,” states the company’s press release.

During the announcement of the Budget 2020, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had stated that solar capacity would be deployed along the railway tracks on lands owned by the Indian Railways. She had mentioned that the government aims to electrify 27,000 km of railway tracks.

Commenting on the MoU, S.K. Chaudhary, chairman, and managing director, IRCON, said, “Through this collaboration, we are diversifying our business in the solar energy sector. Further, this collaboration is aligned with the Government of India’s policies on the renewable energy sector, and we believe the solar energy sector has enormous opportunities. We hope our association with AYANA and NIIFL to explore projects in the solar energy sector will be rewarding to all stakeholders.”

Sujoy Bose, the managing director, NIIFL, said, “Given the vast untapped potential of this sector and our focus on making sustainable investments, we are confident that through this partnership, we will be able to develop solar projects at scale and through them bring further efficiency into the energy mix in India.”

In January 2020, Mercom had reported that IRCON had invited an expression of interest (EoI) from specialist construction contractors to associate with the company for its upcoming solar projects. The scope of work entailed the empanelment of contractors for the Seabird Project of Indian Navy at Karwar, Karnataka, along with other future projects.

Earlier, EverSource Capital and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund of India had announced that their partnership with Ayana Renewable Power, could see an investment of nearly $330 million (₹24.45 billion) cumulatively by all the three partners in India’s renewable projects.

Image credit: Docscreators / CC BY-SA