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Clean energy think-tank favours more access to debt

IANS | New Delhi |

India’s industry body Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN) on Thursday laid emphasis on building a modern energy system through increased public-private partnership and long-term, affordable and accessible debt finance.

In its first annual report “State of the Sector” released here, it sought increased public partnership to scale decentralised renewable energy solutions and to identify access to finance needs for the sector and mechanisms to address them.

It highlighted the significant progress and innovation made by the renewable energy sector.

India’s private sector decentralised renewable energy market leaders deployed 206 small energy grids, more than 92,000 solar home systems, more than 120,000 clean cookstoves for household use and 980 for institutional use, 1,300 solar water pumps and 3.6 million solar lanterns, said the report which did an analysis of the market in the last fiscal.

Beyond household electricity needs, 144 productive use projects such as agricultural processing, small-scale manufacturing and cold storage have been powered by decentralised renewable energy, said the report.

Based on partial data, the total financial needs of the sector over the next three years will triple to Rs 3.8 billion ($59 million).

According to the report, lack of long-term, affordable debt finance remains a key barrier, requiring greater knowledge-sharing between the companies and commercial lenders.

Key sector stakeholders stressed the need to build partnerships with India’s energy distribution companies or DISCOMs to complement grid availability through decentralised renewable energy and provide greater confidence to the investors.

The innovation and entrepreneurship of the decentralized renewable energy sector in India are a critical part in building the digitised, decentralised and democratised energy system of the 21st century that India envisions, said the report’s author Surabhi Rajagopal.

Private sector delivery of distributed energy access, given adequate public partnership, can help India achieve quality and access to reliable energy faster, while ensuring rural economic development, energy security and climate resilience.

CLEAN’s Chief Operating Officer Harihara Mohapatra said: “India has the ability to not only scale decentralised solutions for itself, but for the global community as it seeks to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7).”

CLEAN, which represents 104 organisations including small and medium-sized enterprises, is a think-tank in the decentralised renewable energy sector.