Indian EPC giant builds on presence in Australian market


The Mumbai-based Sterling and Wilson Solar – which has a global solar EPC portfolio of more than 10.6 GW – confirmed it has fully acquired the equity share capital of the Perth-based GCO Solar as it seeks to establish a firm foothold in the Australian renewable energy sector.

In a Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) filing, Sterling and Wilson Solar said it had increased its holding in GCO Solar to 100% after earlier securing a 76% stake in the company.

One of the largest solar EPC and operations and management (O&M) solutions providers in the world with an international portfolio of more than 10.6 GW of solar PV projects commissioned and under construction. This includes a 1.1 GW solar PV plant in Abu Dhabi – the world’s largest single-site solar plant – and a recently announced $127.5 million EPC order in Egypt. The company also manages a portfolio of 7.4 GW of O&M projects globally.

Present in Australia since 2015, Sterling and Wilson has already secured multiple projects here, including the recently completed 200 MW Wellington Solar Farm in central New South Wales.

The Wellington solar farm, the first of oil giant BP’s portfolio of solar projects to begin operating in Australia, started registering on the National Electricity Market late last year.

It is the first large-scale solar farm to be completed in Australia by the Indian outfit but it will most certainly not be the last with Sterling and Wilson Solar announcing in September it had secured orders in Australia worth $300 million.

Sterling and Wilson Solar director and global CEO Bikesh Ogra said the company had signed on for two more large-scale solar projects which will have an installed capacity of more than 300 MW.

“We are delighted to have won two major solar projects in Australia,” Ogra said. “Our total order book in Australia now stands at about $1.2 billion with five projects and a portfolio of more than 1.1 GW, making us the largest home-grown solar EPC player in the region.”

While Sterling and Wilson did not name the projects at the time of the announcement, saying only that the orders had been secured from global independent power producers (IPPs), the 162 MW Columboola Solar Farm in Queensland is part of the deal.

That announcement followed Sterling and Wilson Solar’s revelation in May 2020 that it had signed an EPC contract worth an estimated $525 million. It also signed an O&M contract for a maximum period of 20 years worth an estimated $85 million. Again, Sterling and Wilson did not identify the project but it has since been confirmed it is engaged in Neoen’s 400 MW solar project in Queensland’s Western Downs.

Ogra said the order was Sterling and Wilson Solar’s largest in Australia to date and the company expected a substantial portion of its international revenue would come from the Australian market.

“With the continent’s regulatory environment becoming more conducive towards renewable energy and the prevalence of high electricity tariff, the commercial viability of solar projects is improving,” he said.

“Our vision for the market is to maintain our leadership position in the EPC segment and contribute to the country’s mission of clean energy.”

While Sterling and Wilson Solar is among the largest EPC players in the market, GCO Solar has also enjoyed its share of success.

Among the projects it has completed is AGL Energy’s 102 MW Nyngan Solar Farm, which at the time of construction was the largest solar plant in the southern hemisphere.

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