OPIC and MNRE launch $20m Indian clean energy fund

The Indian Ministry for New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) have announced this week the launch of a $20 million financing facility designed to generate wider investment in India’s growing clean energy sector.

The US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) Facility Initiative is expected to initiate the flow of up to $400 million in public and private financing for solar rooftop, off-grid, mini grid and small- to medium-scale grid-connected PV projects across the country, reports Mercom Capital Group.

Beginning with an initial $20 million finance injection, the USICEF will be a first step towards a larger energy partnership between the U.S. and India, and will form part of a $1 billion pact between the two countries designed to nurture closer relations on matters pertaining to renewable energy and security of energy supply.

Funding for USICEF has already been pledged by a number of U.S.-based foundations, including the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Good Energies Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation, while Delhi-based Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) will act as the fund’s overseer.

CPI India Director Gireesh Shrimali said that debt capital was vital if India is to realize its lofty goals of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. “We are pleased to be part of this initiative that will help overcome the finance barrier, help this industry achieve scale, and help to ensure India stays on track to realize its clean energy ambitions,” Shrimali said.

OPIC has previously committed $74 million to a 100 MW solar PV project in India’s Telangana state, and will see its involvement with USICEF as an ideal opportunity to support additional financing for solar projects right across India.