Jul 06, 2022 News
— while Guyana pursues less electricity for billions more
Kaieteur News – The World Bank has recently approved US$165 million in additional financing to accelerate the adoption of solar photovoltaic (PV) units on rooftops in India by residential consumers by making it more affordable.
The money will directly finance 450 megawatts (MW) of residential rooftop solar capacity and the initiative is expected to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 13.9 million tons.
This works out to about US$376,000 per megawatt.
Guyana on the otherhand is racing ahead with a gas-to-energy project that will supply the grid with some 250MW with a speculated cost of over a billion US dollars and a 175 MW hydro plant at Amaila Falls, pegged also at in excess of a billon US dollars in its previous iteration.The financing from the bank for India’s project includes a US$150 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and US$15 million from the IBRD Fund for Innovative Global Public Goods Solutions.
Hideki Mori, the World Bank’s Acting Country Director for India, said, “this additional financing will increase India’s installed capacity of grid-connected rooftop solar and help India towards its goal of sourcing 50 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2030.”
According to a Mercom India report, the funding programme will provide concessional financing to developers and residential consumers and mobilise additional private capital to the tune of US$71 million, in addition to the US$151.61 million that has been mobilised so far. With this lending, users can generate clean, reliable energy for their use and free surplus electricity into the national grid.
“The programme will help make rooftop solar affordable to residential consumers and catalyse a market with significant potential,” said Amit Jain and Mani Khurana, task team leaders of the project.
The financing will also support distribution companies in identifying groups of residential customers, optimal locations to install the rooftop solar and battery energy storage systems, and appropriate business practices that will help the utilities.
The World Bank reported that over 200 million people in India do not have access to electricity, and those who do, continue to face frequent disruptions. Power shortages also affect economic output, with many industries and manufacturers relying on expensive and polluting diesel generators for back-up power supply. As such, installing solar PV units on rooftops would be a cleaner and cheaper energy solution for these consumers.
The bank has been supporting the Government of India’s programe to generate electricity from rooftop solar since 2017 with the financing of US$648 million for rooftop solar for commercial and industrial establishments.
India added 456 MW of rooftop solar capacity in the first quarter (Q1) of 2022, this is a 34 percent year-over-year growth compared to 341 MW registered in the same period in 2021. Notably, in a quarter-over-quarter comparison, installations were up by 13 percent, compared to the 402 MW installed in Q4 2021.
Notwithstanding the global push towards renewable energy, Guyana’s Vice President, has stated that solar is simply too expensive for Guyana. During one of his press conferences in June, Jagdeo, who was one of six persons back in 2010 to receive the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Champion of the Earth, claimed that the generation of power in Guyana through renewable options such as solar, wind and even hydro is “very, very expensive” when compared to the highly touted Gas-to-Energy (GTE) project which is currently being touted over US$1.3B.
While Jagdeo claimed that renewable alternatives are too expensive for Guyana, President of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Dr. Hyginus ‘Gene’ Leon, a few weeks ago underscored the urgent need for the region to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
His comment comes even as the world is pushing to transition towards renewable energy. Kaieteur News had reported that taking its lead from Germany, the European Union (EU) has signalled its intention to embrace renewable energy much faster than was planned, a direct result of the war being waged between Russian and Ukraine. Russia provides much of Europe with its Natural Gas.
As such, the EU is now looking in the interim to make its purchases from other sources, such as Israel but even those supplies would not be adequate leading to the now stated position of accelerating its push towards renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind and hydro, among other forms of new clean energy technology being developed.
To this end, the EU, Israel and Egypt have signed a tripartite natural gas export deal as the bloc seeks to diversify away from Russian energy. The deal, finalised at the East Mediterranean regional energy conference in Cairo, will allow “significant” exports of Israeli gas to Europe for the first time, the Israeli energy ministry said.
Moreover, earlier this year, the Government of Barbados inked a deal that in the near future will see the country realising some 178 MW of electricity using hydrogen and solar energy at a cost of some US$100M, while in Ethiopia, that country will soon realise 6,500 MW of hydro power electricity at a cost of just over US$600,000 per MW.
With the world on a pathway towards reducing carbon emissions as a result of burning fossil fuels primarily for electricity generation and transportation, Barbados is now leading the Caribbean region with the announcement that it will soon be building the largest clean hybrid power plant in the Caribbean, producing base load power for 16,000 Barbadian households from solar and locally produced green hydrogen.
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