World Bank To Launch $100 Million Guarantee Scheme for Rooftop Solar Projects

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The World Bank is planning to introduce a $100-million credit guarantee scheme to boost the rooftop solar programme in India for MSMEs. The scheme will enable micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to avail concessional debt financing for setting up rooftop solar units. To implement the scheme, the World Bank will collaborate with State Bank of India (SBI) and the MSME ministry. The scheme will be beneficial for those firms that do not meet banks and other financial institutions’ lending criteria.

The World Bank has been associated with India’s green economy finance and in 2016 had launched a $625 million lending programme with SBI for rooftop solar units for the commercial, industrial, and institutional sectors. The loans helped develop India’s commercial and industrial solar segment. However, while the segment has been able to tap financing, small firms have been unable to do so to the desired level. “The programme includes a $10 million first loss mechanism for MSMEs, which has been instrumental in kick-starting the rooftop solar market for MSMEs in India,” the spokesperson said.

The World Bank scheme, along with State Bank of India (SBI) and the MSME ministry to accelerate adoption of rooftop solar units, will help MSMEs access credit of around $1 billion. The arrangement will be beneficial for the firms that often do not meet the lending criteria of banks and other financial institutions, with their financial woes been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic.

This assumes significance given that India added around 4 gigawatts (GW) of rooftop solar capacity out of its 40GW target by 2022. Rooftop solar installations are part of India’s renewable energy target of 175GW to help reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from the 2005 levels, as part of global climate change transition commitments adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015.

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