Lightsource looking at opportunities in foreign solar markets

UK solar developer Lightsource could begin the process of its first diversification away from the UK market, with the company reportedly exploring India and other emerging solar markets.

Since its inception, Lightsource has retained an exclusive interest in the UK market and has amassed a solar portfolio with a capacity in excess of 1GW – the vast majority of which has been in utility-scale solar farms up and down the country.

However the company is now looking to spread its wings into other markets. Speaking at a BPVA-organised event earlier this month, CEO Nick Boyle said the company was remaining “highly selective” over the markets it enters and was not looking to have “20 offices and 20 managing directors, dealing in 20 currencies in 20 jurisdictions".

However, India is of key interest to the company after Boyle was involved in a trade mission to the country alongside Baroness Verma – who at the time was an under secretary of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the country a target of having 100GW of solar capacity by 2022, triggering a rush of companies with an interest in either developing large-scale solar projects or manufacturing solar components in the country.

While the bulk of the interest has come from China – firms such as Canadian Solar, Trina and JA Solar have signed MoUs in India – Lightsource is interested in taking its developmental expertise and experience to the country in order to build a significant portfolio.

Speaking to Solar Power Portal, Nick Boyle said: “Whenever exploring new markets, we look to use the same model that we have employed in the UK. We need to be able to foresee the building of a significant business within each new jurisdiction we enter. We’d rather move into a smaller number of markets where we can establish a wider and deeper business than spread ourselves too thinly. We have to be confident that the markets we choose have an appetite for solar both now and into the future. We also need to ensure that this appetite is large enough, so that Lightsource can deploy significant volumes year-on-year.”