India in multi-billion solar energy pledge

India will allocate an additional 195 billion rupees to boost investment in solar equipment manufacturing, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said as part of wide-ranging series of measures intended to help the economy in its transition away from fossil fuels.

Announcing this year’s budget, Sitharaman also said the government would focus on the setting up of charging stations as part of a battery-swapping policy.

In order to boost farmers’ income and address the issue of air pollution and stubble burning, the budget provides support to enable 5-7% co-firing of biomass pellets in coal-based thermal power plants.

Sitharamn also said energy saving and efficiency will be promoted in large commercial buildings and four pilot projects for coal-gasification and coal-to-chemical technology will be established

Sumant Sinha, CEO of renewable energy producer and solar equipment maker ReNew Power, said the additional allocation for solar, which in dollar terms is $2.6 billion, was a welcome move, adding that the new estimated expenditure was over four times last year’s allocation.

“This will provide great impetus to support self-reliance while working towards the goal of achieving 280 GW of solar deployment by 2030,” Sinha said in a statement.

“Production Linked Incentive for manufacture of high efficiency modules, with priority to fully integrated manufacturing units from polysilicon to solar PV modules, will be made,” Sitharaman said while presenting the federal budget.

She also announced that the government would issue green bonds in a bid to raise money for government projects as India looks to reduce the carbon intensity of its economy.

“The allure of sovereign green bonds will give a fillip to our borrowing capabilities abroad, as we present credibility to foreign investors and domestic capital pools,” said Aarthi Sivanandh, partner at law firm J Sagar Associates.

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