Development Banks Loaned $1.4 Billion to Indian Solar Rooftops in 2017

December 28, 2017


Various development banks made substantial concessional loans to assist the Indian government in its plans to expand solar rooftop installations in 2017. According to a new report by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) latest, concessional loans of around $1,375 million (~₹88 billion) were made available to domestic money lenders this year.

These lenders include the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the New Development Bank (NDB). The funds were made available to the State Bank of India (SBI), Canara Bank, and Punjab National Bank (PNB) for disbursement.

Rooftop installations have been a government priority ever since it announced a target to achieve 100 GW of solar by 2022. Currently most of the funding for rooftop is coming through World Bank and other Development Banks. For the sector to flourish private banks and financial institutions needs to get in the game.

In the third quarter of 2017, rooftop solar projects totaling 1.3 GW were commissioned, and within the last four months alone over 200 MW of rooftop solar was added to the grid. Installation numbers are gradually rising even though rooftop solar has not yet made its way into the life of the average Indian residential electricity consumer. The increase in rooftop solar installations is instead being driven by the growing number of commercial, industrial, and government facilities that are using rooftop solar as a way to reduce their electricity bills. In the Q3 2017 India Solar Market Update, Mercom recently forecast a cumulative rooftop solar capacity of 945 MW for 2017.

Mercom recently reported that MNRE released a new proposal to overhaul the existing rooftop solar implementation mechanism by making it the responsibility of distribution companies (DISCOMs). Under the proposal, DISCOMs would be eligible to receive financial assistance to the tune of ₹234.5 billion (~$3.66 billion) based on their performance in facilitating rooftop solar deployment. The concept, once approved, would serve as the basis of MNRE’s revised Phase-II rooftop solar program.

In its year-end report of annual initiatives and achievements, the government seems confident about its potential to realize its 2022 solar energy target. According to the MNRE report, the government, in its submission to the United Nations Frame Work Convention on Climate Change on Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), stated that India would achieve 40 percent of cumulative electric power capacity generated by non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030, with the help of technology transfer and low-cost international finance.

Image credit: RattanIndia