India is to expand the use of rooftop solar panels with a funding boost of $500m as part of efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The government is aiming to increase the amount of energy sourced from rooftop solar systems to 40 gigawatts by 2022 and the cash will be used to provide loans to developers and homeowners.
The cash is being provided by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and it will be distributed by the Punjab National Bank.
Anqian Huang, finance specialist in ADB's South Asia Department, said: “There is huge potential for India to expand its use of solar rooftop technologies because of the sharp drop in the price of solar panels, meaning the cost of producing solar energy is at or close to that from fossil fuels.
“Sourcing more solar energy will also help India meet the carbon emissions reduction target that it has committed to as part of the recent global climate change agreement.”
The ADB said the funding would mean 11m fewer tons of greenhouse gases would be emitted over the typical 25-year lifetime of solar panels. The project is part of a wider aim to generate 100 gigawatts from solar energy by 2022.
Under the Paris climate agreement, India is to lower its emissions by 33% from 2005 levels and increase the proportion of non carbon power generation to 40% of total capacity by 2030.
“The solar rooftop market is still at an early stage of development in India and awareness of the latest technologies and the financial benefits is low,” said the ADB.
Across Asia the ADB has committed to doubling its financing for climate mitigation and adaptation to $6bn by 2020.