Bengaluru: Commenting on state-run Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) Limited's role in financing the expansion of renewable energy (RE) in India, Pradeep Kumar Das, Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of IREDA, said on Wednesday that the PSU has not raised its interest rates in the last two years and nine months despite the repo rate rising by 40 bps. Speaking during a panel discussion on 'Powering the future: Scaling renewable energy projects' at India Energy Week, Das said, "For renewable energy projects, post-commissioning, 70-80 percent is your debt cost. So, finance is very crucial in RE development. In the last two years and nine months, we have not increased our interest rates. And you all know how the repo rate has gone up during this period… roughly by 40 bps. This shows that we understand the sector well and we have a mechanism in place to be able to support the sector. We are the only NBFC which has close interactions with our stakeholders, borrowers and lenders."
Talking about IREDA's efforts to keep the funds flowing even during the pandemic when it was difficult for borrowers to visit the office physically, Das said, "IREDA is probably the first NBFC which has sanctioned loans without the need for borrowers to visit the office physically. We started this practice during the Covid-19 pandemic. Seven to eight loans have been sanctioned this way. And the entities who have received these loans are not publicly listed. Four of five of them are start-ups. That was the objective. The government of India wants inclusive growth."
He also said that putting a robust mechanism in place has allowed IREDA to bring down the lending rate for financing e-rickshaws from around 30 percent to 17 percent.
"And we have taken all kinds of measures to ensure good governance. We are the first public sector company in the history to have published the statutory audited result in 30 days' time when SEBI allows us 60 days' time. And we are the only corporate entity in India which is undertaking full audit of the quarterly results. This means that our processes, our records, our information is fully sanitised," said Das.
Terming IREDA a unique organisation in the world which disburses only green financing, Das said that due to the lending practices put in place by the PSU, the PSU's loan book has seen a CAGR of 22 percent. "The rate at which renewable energy growth is happening across the globe is 8-9 percent. In India, it is around 17 percent. And IREDA's CAGR is around 22 percent. This communicates that India is leading from the front in RE development globally. And within India, IREDA is leading the growth in the RE sector from the front," said the CMD.
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