The spread of solar energy across India received a further boost today with the signing of an agreement between the Green Climate Fund and India’s National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
The signing of the Funded Activity Agreement paves the way for funds to be transferred in a USD 250 million project designed to unlock private sector energies by expanding the use of solar panels across Indian rooftops.
It will be carried out by TATA Cleantech Capital Limited, following the initial transfer of GCF funds to NABARD, India’s primary development finance body which is also a GCF Direct Access Accredited Entity.
Attending the signing ceremony on the sidelines of COP24 in Katowice, Poland were A K Mehta, IAS, Additional Secretary with India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change; Shankar A Pande, NABARD’s Chief General Manager; and Manish Chourasia, Managing Director of TATA Cleantech Capital Limited.
Mr Mehta said the agreement matched closely with India's vision of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity along with its growing global presence in solar power as host of the International Solar Alliance.
Mr Pande said the GCF funding partnership with NABARD will provide a fillip to the Indian private sector’s expansion in rooftop solar energy, offering huge potential in both urban and rural areas. "The development of solar solutions would be of particular significance in pockets which experience power deficits and a lack of access to energy," he said.
Mr Chourasia, with TATA Cleantech Capital Limited, said the agreement will boost India's solar sector by generating "flows of low-cost and long-term financing for the implementation of solar rooftop projects in industrial, commercial and residential sectors." "This will not only improve power access but will also significantly reduce power cost to end consumers without increasing the carbon footprint," he added.
The central role of the private sector in this project reflects a key GCF goal of using niche public-funded investments to nurture profitable markets forging low-emission and climate-resilient pathways.
Tony Clamp, Deputy Director of GCF's Private Sector Facility, said during the signing "we are delighted that this initiative demonstrates GCF's strong support for the Indian private sector in delivering innovation through partnership to create a sustainable, low-carbon bankable model in response to climate change."
"It will do this by enabling access to long-term and affordable financing for the construction of 250 MW of rooftop solar capacity across India – along with an estimated reduction of emissions by 5.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent."
India plans to achieve 40 percent of its electric power from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
In the lead up to COP24, India joined other BRICS nations in calling for the full implementation of the Paris Agreement, as well as stressing the need for a "successful and ambitious first replenishment" of GCF, which was launched in October.