The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved a $50 million loan to help fund rooftop solar power generation systems in Sri Lanka to increase the share of renewable energy sources in the country’s energy mix.
ADB will also administer a $1 million technical assistance from the Asian Clean Energy Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility to help build capacity, increase awareness of stakeholders, and support the project’s implementation in Sri Lanka.
“Sri Lanka’s energy sector has made tremendous progress over the last two and a half decades in bringing electricity to almost everyone in the country,” said Mukhtor Khamudkhanov, an ADB Principal Energy Specialist. “But there is a need to diversify the country’s energy mix toward more renewable and sustainable sources.”
Sri Lanka’s electrification rate stood at 99.3% in 2016 compared to just 29% in 1990, showing steady progress in improving access to electricity. However, the country remains highly dependent on fossil fuels. In 2016, thermal power contributed 67.2% of the total power generation compared to hydropower’s 24.6% and 8.2% of nonconventional renewable sources.This 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% as part of its commitment to the Paris agreement.
ADB’s Rooftop Solar Power Generation Project will boost access to clean and reliable power in Sri Lanka. Specifically, the project will finance rooftop solar power subprojects equivalent to additional capacity of 50 megawatts while building capacity and awareness of relevant authorities, private sector partners, and customers. It will also develop a market infrastructure and bankable pipeline of subprojects for the solar power systems through greater cooperation with private financial institutions and the establishment of technical guidelines and standards for the system.
Total cost of the project is $59.8 million, to which the private sector will provide a $9.8 million equity contribution. The project’s expected completion date is the end of 2021.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.