Greater access to electricity — one of the pillars of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reform program –is powering increased economic activity, enhanced efficiency and improved productivity in India.
Modi has pledged to achieve universal electrification in India by the end of 2022; and to make increasingly greater use of solar power. In fact, India hopes to derive at least 40% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.[i]
Although India is the 6th largest country in the world in terms of power consumption,[ii] almost 300 million of its people, particularly in rural areas, did not have access to 24×7 power supply prior to Modi assuming office. As of June 30, 2017, 14,834 census villages out of 18, 452 have been electrified.[iii]
Even as it expands the production of coal-generated electricity, India has started ramping up its solar capacity and hopes to generate 100 Giga Watts of solar energy by 2022, which will make it one of the largest users of solar power in the world. This will help to bring sustainable, clean, climate-friendly electricity to millions of India’s people.
“The world must turn to (the) sun to power our future,” Modi is reported to tell the 2015 COP21 climate conference in Paris. “As the developing world lifts billions of people towards prosperity, our hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold, global initiative.”
And to support India’s solar power ambitions, the World Bank has approved a $625 million loan that will support the Government of India’s Grid Connected Rooftop Solar program by financing the installation of solar panels on rooftops across India. The project draws funds together from the Bank, as well as from the Clean Technology Fund of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), and will mobilize additional funding from public and private investors.[iv]
World Bank commits $1 billion for India’s solar plans
Over Fiscal Year 2017, the World Bank hopes to provide more than $1 billion to support India’s solar plans.
Currently, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the World Bank Group’s private sector arm, is supporting the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh set up the 750-MW ultra-mega solar power project in Rewa. This is the largest single-site solar power project in the world.[v]
The IFC will help structure and implement the transaction to help attract investments of about $750 million. IFC was one of the earliest financiers of wind and solar power in India, and helped develop the country’s first grid-connected solar power project.[vi]
Today, India is one of the lowest per capita consumers of electricity in the world. This provides tremendous scope for companies involved in power generation, to grow. And with a leader who loves to champion the green cause, India, along with other emerging giants, might soon lead the world in this fight against climate change.
Caroline Grimont is the SVP, Sales and Marketing at Excel Funds Management Inc. She has more than 23 years of domestic and international experience in marketing, sales and business development. Prior to joining Excel Funds, she was Head of Business Development with OANDA Corporation, one of the world’s leading foreign exchange trading platforms. She holds a Master’s degree from the National University of Singapore in International Economics and a Bachelor of Finance (first class honors), University College Dublin.Twitter: @c_grimont