Serentica Renewables – Carving its own niche

Global Energy Report
11 min read

KKR and Twin Star’s green energy platform Serentica Renewables has been carving its own niche in the Indian renewables market since 2022, with a focus on round-the-clock offtakes for commercial and industrial customers. Chief executive officer Akshay Hiranandani tells PFI the company expects a US$1bn debt requirement for its projects each year. By Alexandra Dockreay.

The green energy profiles that Serentica can offer to customers are becoming increasingly sophisticated and varied, as it diversifies its energy generation and storage mix, and augments internal capabilities in data modelling and energy trading.

“Serentica is focused on decarbonisation,” says CEO Akshay Hiranandani. The difference the company hopes to make lies in serving certain industries in India that are hard to decarbonise due to their requirement for consistent, constant load profiles as well as very specific load profiles.

“Thanks to our round-the-clock energy solutions, Serentica is now able to offer energy more in the form of a service-level agreement rather than a power purchase agreement,” says Hiranandani.

The commercial and industrial (C&I) segment accounts for between 45% and 50% of electricity consumption in India. Importantly, the demand for greener energy from those C&I customers is growing and the duration at which they will contract that green energy has been stretched, as they look to stamp out the risk of energy cost inflation. Serentica is signing contracts now for 25 years. Customers include mining and metals company Hindustan Zinc and Bharat Aluminium Company. Serentica is targeting customers that include smelters, blasters, metals and mining, cement and chemical companies, and data centres.

Hiranandani highlights the internal targets set by corporations for reducing carbon footprints, along with an increasing focus from their customers on minimising environmental impact. Additionally, some export markets, such as the European Union, are implementing carbon taxes.

Serentica’s business model relies on the strength and reliability of India’s transmission network.

The developer is locating, and multi-locating, its greenfield wind farms, solar plants and co-located batteries at multiple sites where there are suitable resources, and writing offtake contracts on the basis that the buyer will connect to the central grid. India’s government currently waives transmission costs for renewable energy projects, meaning an optimal project location ensures the lowest levellised cost of energy for customers.

Hiranandani tells PFI: “I think the strongest point of India’s electricity system today is its grid… The availability for anyone connected to the central transmission grid is probably in the range of 99.75% to 99.8%, so you barely see any grid failures and it is extremely strong and reliable.”

There is a dedicated central planning agency managing India’s grid, and the government continues to increase the amount of new transmission projects being bid out to the private sector, circa US$5bn–$5.5bn worth of projects per year, he explains.

Cashed up

Serentica was launched in 2022 with backing from one of the world’s largest equity fund managers, KKR, and the investment company of Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, Twin Star Holdings. KKR has committed US$650m of equity capital to Serentica, while Twin Star’s commitment has not been disclosed. The two backers have a broadly 50:50 governance share in the joint venture platform.

The chair of Serentica’s board, Pratik Agarwal, is also managing director of transmission developer Sterlite Power and is able to lend his particular insight and expertise in the transmission sector over the last 10 years. Anil Agarwal also owns Vedanta, a metals and mining giant in India, of which subsidiary Hindustan Zinc is already one of the first customers of Serentica.

“Our current confirmed and under construction assets will consume around US$650m–$700m, including [roughly] US$200m from customers for captive status,” Hiranandani says.

That abundant pool of capital has been used to get the company on schedule to have commissioned about 1.7GW to 1.8GW of renewable generation and storage assets by the end of 2024, and by the end of June 2025 this should reach 3.7GW to 3.8GW.

The company should have 600MW of commissioned capacity within the next four weeks across three solar projects, and wind farms should start coming online later this quarter. A major 1.3GW solar farm is due for commissioning in Q1 2025.

The two solar farms in commissioning currently in Rajasthan are contracted to Hindustan Zinc, while a solar project in Karnataka is contracted to Bharat Aluminium Company.

“We clearly see a path to hitting about 17GW capacity by 2029 to 2030,” Hiranandani asserts.

Project financing

The company is using project finance debt to fund its greenfield project developments and has already tapped both international banks and Indian government lenders.

Hiranandani tells PFI: “In the current projects our debt requirement is around US$2bn–$2.1bn, and we have already tied up about US$1.6bn. So, we will still be in the market for around US$500m to secure the debt side of the capital stack for future projects. We will be hitting the market for our projects when they get to a firm PPA. We’d expect to raise annually at least US$1bn of project finance level debt…”

In future, the debt capital markets could be a significant source of liquidity for Serentica too, potentially from about the second half of 2025.

“Once assets are commissioned, we hope to use foreign and domestic capital markets to place bonds and free up capital for some of our underwriting lenders…,” Hiranandani says. “That has been tried and tested by many different incumbents in the industry and we hope to follow that.”

International banks and Indian lenders provided US$425m of project finance debt to finance a 530MW hybrid wind and solar project in Rajasthan and Maharashtra in December 2023, in Serentica’s first project finance raising featuring private sector lenders. The seven-year green loan was also India’s first US dollar project financing for a renewables project backed by a C&I PPA. Rabobank, MUFG, Societe Generale, YES Bank, Export-Import Bank of India and India Infrastructure Finance Company were lenders. Envision is understood to be the wind turbine supplier.

The 530MW capacity is tied up with a 530MW 25-year power purchase agreement with Hindustan Zinc, owned by Twin Star’s Anil Agarwal’s Indian metals and mining company Vedanta (64.9%) and the Indian government (29.5%). Hindustan Zinc will use the purchased power for one of its smelters in Madhya Pradesh. Given its broader portfolio of smelters, Hindustan Zinc could go to market for additional green energy PPAs down the line.

Indian government lenders PFC and REC provided a combined Rs56bn of debt to finance other Serentica projects in 2023. REC signed a Rs30.81bn loan for a 560MW wind-solar hybrid project in the Gadag district of Karnataka in September. REC’s parent Power Finance Corp (PFC) provided a Rs26bn loan to Serentica in the same month for 400MW of hybrid renewables Serentica is developing in Karnataka.

Energy storage

Within the next three to six months, long-duration storage capacity is due to become an integral and unique part of Serentica’s offering. It will be the offtaker for 1.5GWh of capacity from two off stream closed-loop pumped hydro storage projects that developer Greenko is building in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The 1.2GW/10.8GWh nine-hour Pinnapuram PSP project in Andhra Pradesh is due to enter operations in the next three to six months, and already Serentica is able to include this capacity in its RTC offerings to customers. Greenko is also developing the 1.44GW/11GWh Gandhi Sagar PSP in Madhya Pradesh.

“Even today, the cycling cost a PSP can offer is far lower than what a battery can offer,” Hiranandani explains. “That gives Serentica some edge as very few players have access to pumped hydro, and most new projects are four or five years down the line.”

Greenko has lined up several other offtakers for the capacity of the two PSP projects, including Jindal Steel & Power and National Hydro Power Corp’s green ammonia project.

Serentica also intends for shorter duration storage to be one of the building blocks in its RTC offering, and its generation projects will generally have 10MWh–15MWh of battery storage co-located at each site.

“We should be looking to utilise anywhere between 500MWh and 1,000MWh in the next three to four years,” Hiranandani forecasts.


Serentica is working to structure ever-more customised solutions to match the energy needs of C&I customers. Hiranandani is confident most of its solutions can beat any new price coming from a thermal plant.

Examples of tailored customer contracts could be replacing 50% of electricity with green energy in all time blocks, using green energy only in the solar or wind hours, or matching an industrial facility’s peak load profile, perhaps only at 50% or 60% green energy.

As government tenders of capacity have moved away from vanilla solar, wind or hybrid auctions towards RTC, peak power and firm power contracting, Serentica is willing to selectively participate in government capacity auctions too. It won a 100MW 25-year PPA in Solar Energy Corp of India’s second firm and dispatchable renewable energy (FDRE-II) auction at a tariff of Rs5.60 per kWh in March, for which projects must include energy storage and connect to the interstate transmission system.

“We are building a lot of muscle in energy trading,” Hiranandani says. “A very small fraction of our offered units could come from us taking trading risk on the exchange, as even to offer five units more we may have to really oversize our generation projects…”

Serentica’s team includes about 120 people now and by the end of this year the numbers are expected to swell to around 200. The corporate offices are in Delhi and Mumbai, complemented by regional and site offices.

Serentica’s business model relies on advanced energy modelling, utilising years of data. The company is using Australia-based Energy Exemplar’s Plexos energy modelling software platform currently, but is developing its own software for the future.

Hiranandani asserts: “Renewables is moving to a stage where it requires big data science to analyse trends on generation consumption patterns and market prices.”

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