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Bullish on solar projects in India: US Exim Bank chief

According to reports, US Exim Bank chief Fred Hochberg has said the lender is bullish on the renewable energy space here, especially the solar sector, even though there is a “slight pause” in such projects.

“I think there has been a slight pause in the solar area. (But) I think that’s going to be picking up again,” Hochberg told reporters during an interaction here. The US Exim Bank is the largest international financier for solar power projects in the country, he said.

Hochberg further said that in the past three years, his bank, which finances importers with an intent to increase jobs back home in the US, has rendered a finance of $ 350 million to solar projects here. “In less than three years, we have done about $ 350 million worth of financing for solar projects, making us the largest international financier for solar power in India,” he said.

He further said that in the past decade they have financed over $ 12 billion worth of projects here and currently have a portfolio of $ 8.2-8.5 billion, which is second only to Mexico in the entire world, and is also growing very rapidly. “The US Exim Bank’s financing is in the full range of transportation from aircraft to petrochemicals to power to solar energy.

“One of the areas that we’re particularly excited about has been in the area of supporting India’s drive for more renewable energy and how solar energy has become more and more economical, and some of the price of coal through import and transportation has increased. “The parity between solar power, renewable power, and coal power here has narrowed, but they’re very close right now,” said Hochberg.

Hochberg had yesterday said though there is more clarity in policy-making in New Delhi now but businesses are still adopting a “wait-and-see” approach in the wake of upcoming general elections.

The polls are scheduled for mid-2014. “The path seems clearer today than it was five to six months ago. I’d say it (the picture) is clearer today than it was six months ago.

“There is some degree of caution right now. There is a little bit of wait-and-see in terms of immediate prospects… We have this in our country, when we have an election, people are just waiting to see how the elections turn out,” he had said. “My hunch is that this is a great democracy and they are probably not as different from what goes on in the US before a major election,” he added.

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