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Govt. steps up rooftop solar power generation with ADB assistance

To increase solar power generation and speed up implementation of the Battle for Solar Energy program, the Government requested Asian Development Bank (ADB) to provide a credit line that would enable institutional and domestic customers to finance installation of solar rooftop PV generation facilities. 

The credit line will provide the required financing with preferential terms that will stimulate solar rooftop generation development. 

As part of the project, technical guidelines and standards for solar rooftop systems will be established

The Government this week took a further step towards boosting renewable energy supply via a program promoting installation of Battery Energy Storage Battery Systems for rooftop solar systems.

The move is part of the Government’s policy decision to generate 70 percent  of the electricity requirement from renewable energy sources by 2030 and to zero carbon emissions by 2050.

At present, about 400 MW of the country’s power grid is being supplied by rooftop solar systems.

The Cabinet of Ministers, at its meeting on Monday, discussed measures to further boost this source of renewable energy.

The Government said encouraging installation of battery systems for these systems on self-financed investment through a new tariff system will enable consumers to have a more reliable supply of electricity.

In this context, a committee of officials appointed to identify the technical challenges that may arise in connecting a large percentage of electricity from renewable energy sources to the national grid had submitted its recommendations.

Following an earlier decision in November last year to appoint a Cabinet Sub-Committee to further study the recommendations, the Cabinet this week approved the proposal presented by  Minister of Power to implement the proposed program in accordance with the recommendations made by the Cabinet Sub-Committee.

ADB is supporting Sri Lanka’s bid to increase the use of solar power and other renewable energy sources in providing electricity to the whole country and meet its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

The government’s Battle for Solar Energy program envisions 1000 megawatts of solar power generation capacity by 2025—all from the rooftops of homes and businesses.

In 2017, ADB approved a $50 million loan for Sri Lanka’s Rooftop Solar Power Generation Project, which would finance the development of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems.

The Ministry of Finance is managing the credit line, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Power, and Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority. 

Funds are channeled to the beneficiaries through selected participating financial institutions.

To ensure the smooth implementation of the investment project, ADB provided $1 million for project readiness activities. Financing came from ADB’s Asian Clean energy Fund.     

By the end of 2019, about 2,081 subprojects have been approved amounting to 23.5 megawatts of total solar PV installations. 

A project  that provides a platform to facilitate potential consumers to invest in solar rooftop systems and monitor the rooftop solar installations was launched in March 2019. 

In January 2020, a solar investment calculator was introduced to the website to be used as a guide to domestic consumers interested in investing in a solar rooftop system to assess its viability. 

A comprehensive database of all 175 project installations is also being maintained.

In 2020, the  Clean Energy Fund   provided additional financing of $250,000 to help increase the installed renewable energy capacity from solar rooftop systems and enhance the capacity of stakeholder for future solar installations.

With the additional financing, this has been increased to an expected capacity of 60 MW with an estimated gross power generation of 94.6 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year. 

The initial project design was to add 50 MW of renewable energy capacity from solar rooftop sub projects.

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