ISA plans to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025

ISA plans to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025: Upendra Tripathy

Image result for upendra tripathyInternational Solar Alliance (ISA) is aiming to become self sustainable soon. Launched in 2015 on the sidelines of COP21, the alliance is implementing demand aggregation model to make large scale solar projects economically viable. Upendra Tripathy, Director General, ISA in an exclusive interaction with Ankush Kumar (ET Energy World) talks about the group’s key initiatives and long term plans. Edited excerpts.. 

Could you give us a break-up of the funds that you have raised so far? 
We have got a working budget of up to $4.5 million to be utilized until December this year. This money has come from the interest of the donations made by our partners. The government of India has given around $16 million to ISA which has been deposited in State Bank of India (SBI) and is giving around 7 per cent interest. Chinese solar company CLP has given us $1 million. SoftBank has given us $2 million. Indian PSUs and government organisations like SECIIREDA, NTPC, REC, PGCIL, CIL, PFC, ITPO have given us $1 million each. All of this works out to around $11 million. Therefore, with contribution from India which is 16 million and this $11 million we have a total of around $27 million. On all these donations we are getting an interest of around 7 per cent.

What is the future outlook on funding arrangements? 
The Government of India gave us $16 million in 2016 and it is giving $2.5 million every year for five years. The government has been giving us money for the past three years and that will stop after two years. As a host country, the government of India had initially promised up to Rs 400 crore. There are other global institutions we are able to attract investment from. The World Bank has given us $0.5 million and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to give us $2 million. The European Union has given $300,000 to build Infopedia. It is an information platform which will have three parts. First, it will have 1,000 solar videos, then there will be a country counter where each country will showcase what best it has to offer for the industry. The third aspect is a communication platform where ministers, scientists, experts from 121 member countries can interact.

How much corpus do you think will be sufficient for ISA to become financially stable? What is the return on investment for the companies who donates to ISA? Do they have decision-making power too? 
Our long-term plan is to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025 with contributions which will give us an interest of up to $40million. So, once we have a corpus like this we will not need a membership fee. Once an organisation donates the money they can not take part in any decision on how ISA is utilizing it. As far as benefits to the companies for donating to ISA are concerned, we are open to provide the platform for engagements with our member countries which can be beneficial to them in many ways. Recently, the minister of Cuba wanted to meet all our corporate partners and we have facilitated that. Suppose the corporate partners have any issue with any country we can directly communicate to the minister in a particular country. We have a dedicated desk for the corporate partners. If they have any legal issues in any part of the world, we forward it to our national focal contact in that country.

You had earlier talked about an aggregation model for pitching large scale projects in other nations. How does this model work and what could be the core benefits? 
Beginning next month, we are going to organise a meeting of our partners. The idea is to actively engage and promote the ISA agenda which talks about pitching for large scale projects like home lighting systems and solar cookers by using the demand aggregation model. Through this, we aim to bring the cost of a home lighting system close to what a family pays for kerosene oil. Otherwise they will not buy. Through this aggregation model of demand, risk and capital, we can achieve universal energy access. We also need to establish institutions like a world solar bank which can be dedicated to providing financial assistance for solar projects.

Solid waste management is a critical area for sustainability. Do you think ISA, being a large and global organisation, can help in building a universal procedure for waste management?
We are trying to recommend to every member country that for every solar unit they generate, they should levy 0.001 per cent of that cost as cess and this should be accumulated as a solar fund. This fund should be used to treat solar waste as it gets generated. In 25 years, all these solar panels will be waste. So, the best thing is to prepare it for now. We will recommend to all these solar countries to create a solar waste fund and levy a sub-charge on solar electricity. We believe that the present generation, which is using solar energy, should make the future generations ready for this solar revolution.

Courtesy – ETEnergyWorld |By-Ankush Kumar | New Delhi | April 19, 2019

SoftBank confirms selling ‘entire stake’ in Flipkart to Walmart

SoftBank confirms selling ‘entire stake’ in Flipkart to Walmart

Japan’s SoftBank has decided to sell its over 20 % stake in e-commerce major Flipkart to US retailer Walmart for an estimated $ 4 billion. “SoftBank confirms the sale of its entire stake in Flipkart to Walmart,” a SoftBank spokesperson said.

The company is estimated to rake in about $ 4 billion from the sale. The move by SoftBank ends nearly two weeks of suspense over whether the Japanese telecom and Internet powerhouse would exit or stay invested in Flipkart post the deal with Walmart.

SoftBankWalmart had, on May 9, announced that it will pay about $16 billion to buy about 77 % stake in Flipkart. While significant shareholders in the Bengaluru-based company d eBay had agreed to sell their shares, SoftBank had not taken a final call.

A statement issued by Walmart on May 9 had identified Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Tiger Global Management LLC and Microsoft Corp as those who would continue to be investors in Flipkart.

However, SoftBank took more time to arrive at its decision taking into account several factors including the tax that it would have to pay on profits it would earn from such share sale. SoftBank had invested $ 2.5 billion in Flipkart last year.

On May 9, hours before Walmart was scheduled to announce the Flipkart acquisition, SoftBank chief executive Masayoshi Son told during an investor call on his company’s earnings that Walmart had agreed to buy a controlling stake in the Indian e-commerce company.

He had gone on to state that the $ 2.5 billion investment made by the Japanese company through its Vision Fund into Flipkart was worth about $ 4 billion in the latest deal.

While SoftBank is now exiting Flipkart, it continues to be a significant investor in Flipkart’s rival Paytm Mall. Reports suggest after the closure of the Flipkart deal, SoftBank could look at pumping in funds into Paytm Mall.

NEW DELHI, MAY 23, 2018

Chinese giant Tencent funds $1.1 billion to Ola

Chinese giant Tencent funds $1.1 billion to Ola 

The company said it will make significant technology investments into artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities.

Ride-hailing company Ola said that it has raised $1.1 billion in a funding round led by Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Limited. Ola’s existing investor SoftBank, in addition to other new US-based financial investors, have also participated in this round.Chinese giant Tencent

Ola said it is also in advanced talks with other investors to close an additional $1 billion as part of the current financing round, concluding a total raise of over $2 billion. The investment is expected to help Ola build its war chest in the battle against Uber, a worldwide ride-hailing colossus, that is rapidly gaining share in the Indian market. “Our ambition is to build a globally competitive and futuristic transportation system in India that will support and accelerate a nation on the move,” said Bhavish Aggarwal, co-founder and chief executive of Ola, in a statement. With its latest round of funding, Ola said it will be making strategic investments in supply, technology, and cutting-edge innovations to build for the country’s unique transportation needs.

The company said it will make significant technology investments into artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to solve for India’s unique mobility problems. By doubling down on penetration, Ola said that it intends to go deeper into the Indian market to serve the vast majority of Indians who are looking for affordable and reliable commute and transportation. “The strategic partnership with Ola makes it possible for Tencent to be part of the fast-growing ride-hailing space in the country,” said Martin Lau, President of Tencent Holdings, in a statement.

Founded in January 2011 by IIT Bombay alumni Bhavish Aggarwal and Ankit Bhati, Ola said it is present in 110 cities across the country with over 14 unique categories to serve the various transportation use cases. These include India-centric categories like auto-rickshaws and bikes.