Solu Hydropower Private Limited
Solu Hydropower Private Limited (SHPL) won a tender to develop the 82 MW Lower Solu Run-of-the- river hydropower project, and targeted funding it with a mix of local and foreign currency debt.
The local banking system in Nepal lacked the capacity to extend, without credit support, the around USD 30 million equivalent local currency debt that the project required in order to align the currency profiles of its revenues and debt obligations. GuarantCo’s credit guarantees, covering 90 percent of the local banks’ exposures, enabled SHPL to raise the required local currency funding and achieve financial close in a timely manner.
The Lower Solu project will add around 11 percent to Nepal’s electricity capacity and will reduce the severe electricity shortage in the country which sees 12 to 16 hour daily power cuts in winter months. The project was the largest private sector plant in Nepal, and the first project to have both local and international debt. The project was also the first in Nepal to involve an international financial guarantor and introduced Nepalese banks to long tenor project finance, incorporating international best practices. The project is expected to have a significant demonstration impact for future projects.