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India plans $350m solar finance fund

As one of the world’s fastest-growing markets in the sector, the country expects to beat the 2020 deadline for its 175GW national renewables target.

The Indian government plans to set up a $350 million vehicle to help finance solar projects across the country in a bid to achieve the national renewable energy target of 175GW by 2020.

Shri Raj Kumar Singh, India’s minister of state for power and new and renewable energy, announced the new fund at an International Solar Alliance forum last week, noting the intergovernmental alliance will help mobilise sufficient funds for solar projects among its member countries.

Singh noted that, over the years, renewable energy has become cheaper and is set to replace conventional energy, which is a healthy development. He added that India has one of the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy programmes and he is confident the country can achieve its national energy target well before the 2020 deadline.

India’s Yes Bank has agreed to commit financing to solar projects of up to $5 billion by 2030, according to the Power Minister. State-run NTPC and CLP India, the India-focused renewables arm of Hong Kong-listed utility CLP, have formed a partnership with ISA and each committed a voluntary contribution of $1 million to the ISA fund. Further details of the fund were not disclosed.

Nine renewable energy companies also signed letters of intent and memorandums of understanding on developing solar projects under the ISA programme during the event. The participating companies are Vyonarc Development, Greenko Solar, Gensol Group, Spain’s Solarig, Shakti Pump, Refex Energy, Amplus Solar, Tata Power, Jackson Solar, Hero Future Group and Zodiac Energy.

The organisation expects contracts for more than 100 projects to be signed by April under this programme.

Established in November 2015, India-headquartered ISA is dedicated to promoting solar energy development among its 48 member states, which include Australia, India as well as countries from South America, Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. It is planning to deploy more than 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and to mobilise investment of more than $1,000 billion into solar energy by 2030.

India has installed about 58.3GW of renewable power capacity, as at the end of August 2017. That included 32.5GW of wind, 13.1GW of solar, 8.2GW of bioenergy and 4.4GW of small hydropower generation.