03 June 2019
To demonstrate the role renewables can play in India’s future energy mix, UK Climate Investments (UKCI) – a MIRA-managed vehicle which forms part of the UK’s International Climate Finance – partnered with Lightsource BP to finance the construction of a 60 MWp solar farm in Wagdari, Maharashtra.
Energy demand is on the rise in India. A larger, and increasingly prosperous, population will see India account for more than a quarter of net global primary energy demand growth through to 20403. Although much of this new energy demand is currently expected to be met through coal, the amount of energy provided by solar is expected to grow significantly3.
In 2017, UKCI announced that it had partnered with a major global solar developer – Lightsource BP – to support the build-out of green infrastructure in India.
UKCI and Lightsource BP developed a 60 MWp solar farm in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. The greenfield construction project was both UKCI’s and Lightsource BP’s first in India and represented a unique opportunity for two UK firms to share industry-leading best practices of risk mitigation and management across project development, construction and operation in the rapidly expanding market.
In less than six months, more than 200,000 ground-mounted solar photovoltaic panels were successfully installed over 240 acres of nonarable land. In addition to demonstrating the accessibility of the Indian market to international renewables developers, Lightsource BP’s and UKCI’s investment enabled the sharing of knowledge and skills – helping to build local capability and capacity in the early-stage Indian renewables market.
In line with UKCI’s mandate to support emerging economies respond to the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change, the 60 MWp project is helping to enable cleaner growth in one of India’s most remote regions.
Connected to the local distribution grid, the solar farm is displacing electricity provided by fossil fuel-based sources of power generation – providing enough renewable electricity to meet the needs of approximately 75,000 homes each year4. In doing so, the project helps avoid over 80,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year as well as harmful air pollutants including nitrous oxide, sulphur oxide, PM10 and PM2.5 emissions4.
The project is making an impact in a country where more than 1.2 million people each year die prematurely as a result of air pollution5. In addition to causing serious respiratory and cardiovascular diseases amongst some of the poorest in society, it is estimated that poor air quality costs the Indian economy the equivalent of 8.5 per cent of GDP annually6.
All information current as at October 2019, unless otherwise stated.