Former Welspun Renewables Energy promoter and serial entrepreneur Vineet Mittal led Avaada Group which has set up 4 gigawatt (GW) of operational solar-wind capacity - after Welspun Renewables' 1.2 GW assets were divested to Tata Power in 2016 in a $1.4 billion deal - currently has 4 GW under construction and 3 GW in the pipeline. Plans are to develop 11 GW independent power production (IPP) capacity by 2026 and 30 GW capacity by 2030, Mittal tells Fortune India in an exclusive interview. It will entail an investment of nearly $10 billion or ₹85,000 crore by 2030 in solar-wind energy, solar equipment, green hydrogen and its derivatives and electrolysers. Mittal says the company has tied up equity funds required for the entire investment upto 2030.
Avaada is also setting up a 5 GW integrated solar module and cell manufacturing capacity. "We are making an integrated facility and this will be operational by 2025. By 2030, the group plans to scale up to 10 GW, along with backward integration into polysilicon, ingots and wafers," says Mittal. Avaada was awarded 3 GW of wafer-to-module manufacturing capacity under the second round of the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for high-efficiency solar PV modules, with a ₹961 crore PLI incentive. In the second round of PLI, the government had allocated 39.6 GW capacity with an outlay of ₹14,007 crore to 11 companies, including 16.8 GW for the wafers-cells-modules makers.
The third area where Avaada invests is in Green Hydrogen and derivatives like methanol and green ammonia. The first project of half million tonnes of green hydrogen to green ammonia will be fully operational by 2026. In August last year, the Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Rajasthan to set up a one million tonnes per annum Green Ammonia facility and a renewable energy power plant in Kota, Rajasthan, which will require an investment of ₹40,000 crore.
Avaada is also developing its own electrolyser technology and will venture into electrolyser manufacturing. Plans are to also either team up with partners or to acquire electrolyser technology specialist companies. Electrolyser manufacturing plans will be finalised by next year.
Last month, Avaada closed a $1.3 billion funding round, among the largest equity rounds raised by any green energy company in Asia. Brookfield Renewable, through its Brookfield Global Transition Fund (BGTF) has committed to invest $1 billion in Avaada Ventures, which is setting up the green hydrogen, green ammonia and solar module and PV facilities. On the sidelines of the 4th G20 Energy Transition Working Group (ETWG) held at Goa last week, Vineet Mittal signed an MoU with the Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) to fund $2.44 billion (₹20,000 crore) for Avaada's energy transition projects coming up in the next five years.
Global Power Synergy Public Company Limited (GPSC), a subsidiary of state owned oil and gas giant PTT Public company of Thailand, had acquired 42.93% equity holding in Avaada Energy in 2021. Recently GPSC further invested an additional $233 million in AEPL to take its overall equity investment to around $779 million.
Mittal, a first-generation entrepreneur, was part of the core team of VSNL that started Internet in India in 1995. Later he started his own business, one among India's first BPOs with funding from ICICI Venture. He exited that business in 2008 and floated Welspun Energy in 2010, which became one of India’s largest renewable energy companies with an installed base of 1.2 GW. Tata Power acquired Welspun Renewables in June 2016 for nearly Rs 10,000 crore ($1.4 billion).