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US firm’s PV project awarded India’s first ‘A’ credit rating for solar power plant

Renewable energy provider Astonfield given A class rating from CRISIL for Rajasthan solar plant on strong revenue visibility

The solar power plant is the first in India to receive an A class credit rating

A 5MW photovoltaic plant, owned by a US renewable energy firm, has become the first solar power project in India to receive an A class credit rating. Astonfield Renewables, a leading provider of affordable renewable energy solutions in emerging markets, which has headquarters in New York, has announced that Credit Rating Information Services of India (CRISIL), has given an A-credit rating on loan facilities for its 5MW solar power plant in the state of Rajasthan.

Astonfield, which develops, owns, and operates a growing portfolio of utility-scale solar power plants, is the first company to receive an A class rating by CRISIL for a solar power plant in India. CRISIL is a division of the McGraw Hill Corporation, whose majority stakeholder is Standard & Poor's.

The solar energy first for India, follows on from another US company, Texas engineering firm, Lauren, also making solar power history in India this year. The company produced power from India's first concentrated solar power (CSP) plant in June.

The "CRISIL A-/Stable" rating was given on long-term loan facilities. According to the agency, Astonfield has "a comfortable financial risk profile, marked by healthy debt protection metrics." Furthermore, CRISIL noted Astonfield's debt service coverage ratio "is expected to be healthy."

Astonfield, said the A-rating reflects the strong revenue visibility of its 5MW solar power plant, driven by its 25 year power purchase agreement with India power trading company NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam, with "better realisation [sic] per unit and sound operational performance." The plant has been in operation since 2011.

"Astonfield is focused on developing renewable energy projects that earn a profitable return on investment, and this rating reinforces that core strength," said Ameet Shah, co-chairman of Astonfield Renewables. "As a long-term owner of renewable power-generating assets in India, we are able to deliver healthy returns to our investors while maintaining a lower risk profile."

"Having established ourselves early on as a premier developer of renewable energy power plants in India's solar market, Astonfield is well positioned to capitalise on the latent emerging market demand for solar power in India, especially as the cost of diesel and other fossil fuel-based electricity generation rises," added Shah.