Equis Funds Group, one of Asia's largest independent energy and infrastructure private equity fund managers, plans to raise US$500 million over the next year to fund solar-energy projects in Japan where the use of renewable energy is expected to at least double over the next 15 years.
The company intends to tap pension funds and retail investors in Japan infrastructure. It has already secured commitments from foreign investors willing to pour money into Japanese infrastructure.
Adam Ballin, Equis Funds Group partner, stated:
The Japanese market in the future could prove to be an important market because the country is undergoing what we call an energy revolution.
In January 2014, Partners Group and Equis Funds Group announced the successful closing of a US$250 million investment to develop a dedicated Japanese solar platform, Japan Solar. The investment consortium, co-led by Partners Group and Equis Funds Group on behalf of their clients and including investors such as Babson Capital, LGsuper and Qantas Superannuation, will fund the construction of utility-scale solar power plants across Japan, with the first plants expected to start generating electricity in the second half of 2014.
Japan was forecasted this year to install the largest number of solar panels in the world after China in a move of the government to replace the nuclear power it shut off after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. China and Japan are expected to account for up to 45 per cent of the 40.8 gigawatts of solar panels that will be installed globally this year.
Singapore-based Equis, set up by former Macquarie Group executives, is one of a few foreign financial institutions investing in Japan's solar industry. Equis currently manages US$960 million with offices across Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Delhi, Manila, Bangalore and Chengdu.