With this operation, Norfund, the Norwegian investment fund for developing countries, makes its first investment in renewable energy in Sri Lanka.
Volta Investissements, a France-based renewable energies producer, has announced today the conclusion of a USD4m capital raising designed to accelerate the implementation of its solar projects in Sri Lanka. This fundraising will allow Volta to accelerate the construction of solar power plants, developed and installed on the roofs of Sri Lankan schools by its local partner Gaia Greenenergy Group.
More than 500 schools already equipped with solar roofs
Since 2021, Gaia and Volta have been installing PV solar rooftops on Sri Lankan schools and hospitals. Having commenced in the Uva Region, with over 500 schools equipped as of Q1 2023, the Franco-Sri Lankan IPP is now seeking to launch the construction of similar assets in two new provinces in the coming weeks. The combined initial investments of Norfund and Volta will support the overall construction of photovoltaic assets 44 MWp, to be commissioned in 2023 and help further secure the pipeline. This capacity is expected to generate around 64 GWh per year, thus avoiding more than 41,000 t CO2 eq. per year.
The investment is made from the new Norwegian Climate Investment Fund that was set up last year to be managed by Norfund, with the goal of alleviating greenhouse gas emissions by investing in renewable energy in developing countries with large emissions from coal and other fossil fuel consumption. Sri Lanka is one of eight prioritized countries for the new fund.
Building an independent producer of renewable electricity in Sri Lanka
At the closing of this operation, Volta will keep a majority control of its assets, and will continue to play a strategic assistance role to the local based teams of Gaia. Volta will from now on be aided by the expertise in the clean energy sector built up by Norfund’s team in the past years.
Inge Stølen, Investment Officer for Norfund, said: “We are excited by this first investment in the renewable energy sector in Sri Lanka, which is a territory we know well having invested in the past in the insurance and banking sector. We believe that renewable energy is part of the answer for the key challenges faced by Sri Lanka in terms of climate change and economic dependence on oil, gas and coal imports.”
“We are obviously proud that Norfund, whose expertise is widely recognized in the renewable energies sector in the emerging countries, is joining us. Its arrival validates the choices we have made so far to develop a 100% renewable energy IPP in Sri Lanka and to achieve this goal while maintaining the highest ESG standards”, said Pierrick Morier, chairman and co-founder of Volta. Sivaaji de Zoysa, founder and CEO of GAIA confirms: “Having Norfund as co-investor alongside Volta is a major step forward for our projects. The in-depth understanding and experience of Volta and Norfund of energy markets will help us to further scale-up our activities”.
Sri Lanka is committed to the energy transition
According to the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Recovery, Sri Lanka remains extremely reliant on fossil fuels for the production of its electricity, while the installed capacity remains insufficient to meet growing demand. The Government however supports and encourages the development of renewable energies. It has set itself the goal of increasing their renewable contribution to 70% of electricity production by 2030. The main development potential identified lies in solar and wind capacities.
Gaia Greenenergy Group is a leading Sri Lankan photovoltaic developer with a vision of “Building an Energy Independent Sri Lanka”. With a pipeline of several hundreds of MWp rooftop projects spread over Sri Lanka with the largest renewable energy concession to form large scale distributed solar development program.
Volta is a French IPP, active in the photovoltaic and wind sectors since 2013. It currently operates and build c. 100MWp in France, Poland and Indian Ocean and is developing a pipeline in excess of 700MWp. The Group is controlled by its management and by Eiffel Investment Group.
Eiffel Investment Group is an asset manager with more than €5 billion under managemen. Eiffel Investment Group’s clients are large institutional investors as well as individuals. Eiffel Investment Group cultivates a strong industrial expertise, particularly in the field of energy transition.