World Bank Hands India $750 Million For Solar Power

(REUTERS/Amit Dave)

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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The World Bank announced Monday it will lend India $750 million to build rooftop solar panels.

India’s rooftop solar industry will use the money to finance the installation of 400 megawatts of rooftop solar power. This funding will be distributed to solar power projects by the State Bank of India and will have a grace period of 19.5 years.

The World Bank acknowledges it is lending India the money for environmental reasons.

“India is endowed with huge solar energy potential, and the World Bank is strongly supportive of the government’s plans to harness this potential,” Onno Ruhl, the World Bank Country Director in India, said in a press statement. “Solar PV will not only improve access to electricity, but it will do so in a manner that avoids the environmental impacts of other traditional electricity sources.”

India is already spending quite a bit supporting solar power. The country increased solar subsidies by a factor of eight last year, raising the amount spent from $92 million to $770 million annually. India got a series of loans worth $1.5 billion in January from international financial institutions for rooftop solar power.

India gets roughly two percent of its electricity from solar panels, while coal plants provide 67 percent of the nation’s power. India is currently building 87,122 megawatts of coal power capacity.

Indian carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from energy use increased by 8.1 percent in 2014, making it the world’s fastest-growing producer of the greenhouse gases driving global warming. India and the rest of the developing world are projected to produce 68 percent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions that will drive future global warming, according to Energy Information Administration (EIA) published earlier this month.

China is by far the world’s largest emitter of CO2 and has been since 2006, while India has long accounted for the largest share of global emissions growth. China emits 29 percent of the world’s CO2 and India accounts for another six percent, while the U.S. is only responsible for 15 percent, according to a 2014 study by the EU.

Cutting Chinese and Indian CO2 is critical to the goal of slowing global warming, yet neither country has made a serious commitment to spending $90 trillion — the International Energy Agency says the green energy price tag is required to curb warming.

India has stated it will only reduce emissions if it receives substantial assistance from Western countries, equivalent to $2.5 trillion over the next 15 years in direct aid, grants, and cheap financing.

Despite massive subsides, investments and support from regulatory authorities, solar power only accounted for one percent of all electricity generated globally in 2014.

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