Additional World Bank grant for solar project

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The World Bank has approved an additional grant of $22.93 million to India to further increase the installed grid-connected rooftop solar photovoltaic (GRPV) programme in the country.

The additional grant under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) grant will support the overall $625 million GRPV programme approved by the World Bank Board earlier this year. It has earmarked a total investment of $915 million for solar rooftop programme.

The World Bank would provide incentives to the State Bank of India to provide loans to “riskier categories” of GRPV customers, such as non-banking financial institutions and small and medium enterprises, to finance and install grid-connected rooftop solar photovoltaic cells.

As per the World Bank’s Environment and Social Impact Assessment report on grid-connected rooftop solar programme, the scheme’s focus will be on installing these systems to generate at least 400 MW of solar power, including optional batteries to store power. According to an India Solar Rooftop Map 2016 report published by Bridge to India, the country’s total rooftop solar capacity has crossed 1 GW and was 1.02 GW as of September 30. Of this, 263 MW was installed by commercial establishments, 377 MW by industries, 121 MW by governments, and 260 MW was residential.

Over the next 12 months, the country is expected to add 1.19 GW, the report said. “We expect India’s solar rooftop capacity to reach 12.7 GW by 2021,” the report said.

“The grid-connected rooftop solar programme is critical to harness India’s solar potential. This additional financing will strengthen the capacity of key institutions and help in bringing international best practices to support the program fulfil its aim in developing at least 400 MW of GRPV across India,” Junaid Ahmad, World Bank Country Director in India said.

Currently, under the programme, SBI is ‘on-lending’ to solar PV developers and end-users who are keen to invest in commercial and rooftop PV systems.

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