Cabinet approves USD50mn ADB loan to boost rooftop solar power generation

Sept 12, 2018 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s cabinet nod has been received to obtain 50 million US dollars worth ADB loan to help fund rooftop solar power generation systems in Sri Lanka.

The project will finance rooftop solar power subprojects equivalent to an additional capacity of 50 megawatts while building capacity and awareness of relevant authorities, private sector partners, and customers.

Asian Development Bank’s Board of Directors approved the loan earlier in the year to increase the share of clean and reliable renewable energy sources in the country’s energy mix.

“This loan facility is about to expire next week, so I thank President and cabinet members for approving this important project,” Power Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya said.

“This loan will be used to provide low-interest loans to small households who want to install rooftop solar panels. This will reduce 75,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions to the environment.”

Sri Lanka’s electrification rate stood at 99.3 percent in 2016 compared to just 29 percent in 1990, showing steady progress in improving access to electricity. The country, however, remains highly dependent on fossil fuels.

In 2016, thermal power contributed 67.2 percent of the total power generation compared to hydropower’s 24.6 percent and 8.2 percent of nonconventional renewable sources.

Dependence on carbon-emitting energy sources makes Sri Lanka vulnerable to fluctuating fuel prices while hampering the government’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent as part of its commitment to the Paris agreement.

State and private banks are already providing customized loan facilities designed for the purpose of setting up solar energy systems for households.