Singapore-based SBI Offshore has agreed to form a joint venture (JV) with Germany’s Gräss Group, aiming for solar power generation globally, in a bid to diversify from offshore marine sector.

The offshore support services firm will own a 51% stake in the venture with the remaining 49% to be owned by GSS Renewables, a unit under Gräss Group.

The JV will be termed as ‘Graess Energy’. It will pursue designing, engineering, construction, development, ownership, operation, maintenance and storage of solar photovoltaic (PV) energy systems and plants.

Graess Energy is also expected to take up independent power production activities, SBI Offshore said.

"Initially, Graess Energy will focus on growth opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region."

The partners are also negotiating to transfer existing assets from Gräss Group to the new entity, including its PV projects. The firms have agreed to include all new PV undertakings to Graess Energy’s portfolio.

SBI Offshore is yet to seek shareholders’ approval for this diversification into renewable energy sector.

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Initially, Graess Energy will focus on growth opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region, which has the fastest growing market in the world for solar PV generation due to its rising energy demands and stress on renewable power production.

SBI Offshore executive chairman Chan Lai Thong said: "This partnership with Gräss Group is a major diversification into clean technology, which we are confident that the partnership will add a new dimension of growth for SBI Offshore."

Gräss Group founder Harald Gräss said: "Our partnership with SBI Offshore allows us to combine our strengths to capture the opportunities in an exceptionally fast-growing energy market.

"We are working together towards securing the first few PV projects by the end of the year."