World Bank to provide $1 bn for India solar projects
Photo Credit: Shah Junaid/VCCircle

The World Bank on Thursday committed USD 1 billion (about Rs 6,750 crore) to support solar energy programme in India, which is reducing dependence on conventional energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

As per the pact signed between Power Minister Piyush Goyal and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, the multilateral funding agency will provide more than USD 1 billion to support India's ambitious solar initiatives through investments in generation.

"We have discussed renewable energy, especially rooftop solar projects. We discussed innovative financing models by which we can boost renewable energy sector," Goyal said after the signing of the pact.

India has a target to generate 1 lakh MW power through solar energy by 2022 and is trying to attract investments from various sources.

The World Bank-supported projects in the works include solar rooftop technology, infrastructure for solar parks, bringing innovative solar and hybrid technologies to market, and transmission lines for solar-rich states.

The combined investments for India would be the Bank's largest financing of solar for any country till date.

The central government and the Bank signed a pact for the USD 625 million Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Programme, which will finance at least 400 mw of solar photovoltaic (PV) installations.

In a statement, The World bank said: "The development of a USD 200 million Shared Infrastructure for Solar Parks Project under a public-private partnership model is also under preparation." 

The Bank also signed an agreement with the International Solar Alliance (ISA), consisting of 121 countries led by India, to collaborate on increasing solar energy use around the world, with the goal of mobilising USD 1 trillion in investments by 2030.

The ISA was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on November last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.

At a meeting with Kim, Modi emphasised on the importance of adequate climate change financing for countries like India which are consciously choosing to follow an environmentally sustainable path.

Kim assured the Prime Minister that The World Bank would be "proactive" and "fully support" this agenda.

"Prime Minister Modi's personal commitment toward renewable energy, particularly solar, is the driving force behind these investments. The World Bank Group will do all it can to help India meet its ambitious targets, especially around scaling up solar energy," Kim said.

India is the largest client of the World Bank Group which lent around USD 4.8 billion between 2015 and 2016.

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