The Asian Development Bank has roped in the European Investment Bank to invest in large-scale solar power plants in India. The ADB is committed to arrange finances for India’s ambitious National Solar Mission projects.
The Asian Development Bank has been working closely with many Asian countries to provide them financial, technical and policy-related support for expanding solar energy infrastructure. The ADB is playing an active role in India to make solar energy more popular. In addition to the European Investment Bank, the ADB has also attracted funding from the US Import-Export Bank and Germany’s KWF.
Under the National Solar Mission, India plans to install 20,000 MW solar-based power generation capacity by 2022. The current install capacity is a dismal 14 MW. The 20,000 MW capacity also includes the off-grid rural power plants. In order to rapidly increase the installed capacity the Indian government has announced two massive solar farm projects, one each in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Both these states are blessed with substantially high solar radiation resource and also have large areas of unused lands due to lower agricultural land use. Rajasthan has the vast Thar desert while Gujarat has vast wastelands in the west. Gujarat has set aside 2,500 hectare for a 1,000 MW plant while Rajasthan has set aside 8,000 hectare for a 3,000 MW plant. Construction of these plants is expected to start after 2013, that is, during the second phase of the National Solar Mission.
The ADB is also supporting the project developers who intend to set up power plants during the first phase. The first phase aims at installing 1,1o0 MW by 2013; ADB will support 350 MW of these installations. The smaller power plants have been provided with 50 percent loan guarantees and project developers will also provided direct loans.
The Asian Development Bank has been working closely with several ministries of the Indian government to devise overall policies and logistical support mechanism in order to make the solar energy projects commercially viable. The bank would also provide capital grants to cover up the difference between the cost of solar power generation and the average cost of generation from conventional sources.
Such collaborations with international funding agencies help in bridging the financial gap that exists for any new renewable energy technologies. In the absence of a clear agreement on international funding as part of an international climate change treaty, such partnerships with European and American banks helps in the quick implementation of these clean technology projects in the developing countries.
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.
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