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Yahoo News: USAID & RBL Bank USD 75M loan guarantee

New Delhi [India], Nov. 3 (ANI): The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Mumbai-based RBL Bank announced on Thursday a new loan portfolio guarantee that will facilitate up to USD 75 million for lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in off-grid, solar rooftops, and energy efficiency sectors. This guarantee is the first of its kind between USAID and an Indian private sector bank which will support innovative solutions and business models to improve access to clean energy sources for electricity.

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India needs more than USD 100 billion in energy investment per year until 2040 to meet its need for electricity. The U.S. Government supports the Government of India’s goal of providing 24×7 power to all Indian households by 2020 and lowering of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2030. Today’s loan guarantee signing advances that goal by making finance accessible for companies that are providing energy access to communities not connected to India’s electricity grid.

USAID Mission Director to India, Ambassador Jonathan Addleton, hosted RBL for the official partnership signing ceremony noting that “USAID is excited to partner with such a forward-looking institution as RBL Bank to achieve our shared vision of bringing clean energy access to all Indians. USAID will continue to support clean energy finance efforts in support of India’s transition to a high-performing, low-emission, energy-secure economy.”

Managing Director & CEO, RBL Bank, Vishwavir Ahuja, commended the agreement, saying, “We are proud to be the first Indian private sector bank to sign this guarantee with USAID. While India has abundant renewable energy, finance is a major barrier to develop clean, affordable and reliable energy. Our partnership with USAID will significantly reduce the gap between sustainable energy projects and financial resources for stakeholders with little or no access to financial sources as well as for entrepreneurs who are passionate about building clean energy.”

Also present at the event was rural micro-grid company OMC Power, which hopes to be one of the first companies to access a loan under the guarantee. Vice-Chairman and Executive Director, OMC Power, Rohit Chandra, celebrated the signing saying, “This loan comes at a time when financing options for companies such as OMC are harder to come by. It will allow us to expand our operations to rural areas in Uttar Pradesh that have never had access to energy in the past.”

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works to end extreme poverty and promote resilient, democratic societies. It is an independent government agency that provides economic, development, and humanitarian assistance around the world in support of the foreign policy goals of the United States.

RBL Bank is one of India’s fastest growing private sector banks with an expanding presence across the country. It currently services over 2 million customers through a network of 201 branches and 373 ATMs spread across 16 Indian states and Union Territories. (ANI)


Read original article: “US AID and RBL Bank Announce USD 75 m loan guarantee for clean energy projects

USAID press release: “USAID AND RBL BANK ANNOUNCE $75 MILLION IN LOAN GUARANTEE FOR CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS

Microgrid Media: “USAID, RBL Bank Partner to Expand Off-Grid, Rooftop Solar in India

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Wall Street Journal: Renewable Energy Powers Up Rural India

Solar startup Omnigrid supplies remote villages, relying on income from telecom towers

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Renewable-power companies serving remote areas of India often supply telecommunications companies and villages with solar energy. PHOTO: SAM PANTHAKY/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

HARDOI, India—A small field of solar panels on the outskirts of this rural district was built to generate energy for a cellphone tower. Now it also supplies electricity to local residents who have suffered from chronic power shortages for decades.

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Economic Times: Rockefeller Foundation pledges $75 million to light up 1,000 villages

NEW DELHI: The Rockefeller Foundation has announced a $75-million, or about Rs 467-crore, rural electrification programme for bringing clean power to a million people across one thousand villages in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar over the next three years through mini-grids.

The programme, ‘Smart Power for Rural Development’, aims to install 150 solar-powered mini-grids by the end of 2015, 500 by the end of 2016 and the balance in 2017 in villages which have either no or less than 10% of coverage by the national grid.

New Delhi-based Smart Power will partner energy service companies (ESCOs), telecom tower operators, investors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and government agencies in implementing this project.

“Rural electrification is littered with philanthropy. But these ESCOs are for-profit. We’re not yet ready for the for-profit only model. That’s why we have this hybrid or blended solution at this point of time to kickstart the microgrid model,” said Judith Rodin, president at The Rockefeller Foundation.

The foundation would provide bridge loan financing to the four ESCOs -Tara Urja, OMC, Desi Power and Free Spans — in addition to providing them techno-commercial support, facilitating their agreements with telecom companies and aligning it with the government’s overarching policy.

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Nikkei Asian Review: Microgrids lift villages out of dark age

Nawab Khan in his shop with a fan powered by a blue battery box
on the shelf behind it (Photo by MEGHA BAHREE)

MATHURA, India — Salma Khan, a petite, young woman, shows off her one room store where she sells food products such as lentils, flour, packaged noodles and biscuits. She is particularly pleased about two recent additions to her tiny village shop. In the midst of the stacks of groceries is a pedestal fan that helps her combat summer heat of above 40 C, and high on the wall in one corner is a foot-long fluorescent light. Both are powered by a battery connected to a solar panel on the roof of the shop.

Simpa Networks, a company headquartered in Noida, a vibrant business district near New Delhi, supplied her with the energy pack that came equipped with lights, a small fan and ports that can be used for charging two mobile phones.

Bridging the “power gap”

It is not cheap. Customers have to make a down payment of 2,500 rupees ($43.2) and then pay monthly installments of about 780 rupees over 28 months before they get to keep the kit. But in a country where about 400 million people have no access to power, Companies like Simpa are playing a crucial role in bridging the “power gap” in a country with a notorious infrastructure.

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