World Bank approves US$165 million loan for 450MW of Indian residential rooftop solar

The World Bank said it wants to mobilise more private capital to support PV deployment in India. Image: Shell

The World Bank has approved US$165 million in additional financing to support 450MW of rooftop solar deployment in India and make distributed generation systems in the country more affordable.

The development bank has already provided US$648 million for India’s Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar Program that focuses mainly on commercial and industrial rooftop PV systems.

This new bout of funding, however, will be used to help the programme scale to include residential solar too, targeting 450MW of rooftop solar capacity in the residential sector.

“Importantly, the project will provide concessional financing to developers and residential consumers and mobilise additional private capital. It aims to mobilise US$71 million of private capital, in addition to the US$151.61 million that has been mobilised so far,” the World Bank said.

The Indian government has pushed rooftop PV as a means of achieving its aim of sourcing 50% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030 and has a rooftop solar target of 40GW.

During Q1 2022, rooftop solar accounted for 15% of all deployment in India, according to Mercom India Research. Rooftop installations in the country have fluctuated massively over the past few years, pushed up and down by rising costs, supply chain factors and the impact of the pandemic.

“The Program will help make rooftop solar affordable to residential consumers and catalyse a market with significant potential,” said Amit Jain and Mani Khurana, task team leaders of the project.

“With this lending, users can generate clean, reliable energy for their own use and feed surplus electricity into the national grid,” the World Bank said in a statement.

Moreover, the project will support India’s power distribution companies (Discoms) to engage directly with residential consumers and play a key role in the expansion of grid-connected solar.

This will take the form of identifying groups of residential customers, optimal locations to install the solar rooftops and battery energy storage systems as well as appropriate business practices that will in turn help the utilities.

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