Piyush Goyal Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal & New and Renewable Energy and Mines and US Ambassador Mr Richard Verma in India launched new joint initiative of US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) Initiative which would help in unlocking OPIC financing and mobilize public and private capital to expand access to distributed clean energy projects here today. Shri Rajeev Kapoor, Secretary, MNRE, White House Senior director John Morton and Mr William Pegues, Managing Director, OPIC and representatives of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Good Energies Foundation were also present.Letter of Intents were signed and exchanged between MNRE and OPIC in presence of Shri Piyush Goyal for the creation of a $20 million for US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) Initiative, equally supported by the United States and India would support projects which, upon long-term financing and deployment, and would qualify for the support of long-term debt financing from OPIC.The U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance facility (“USICEF”) would support project preparation activities for distributed solar projects in order to unlock OPIC financing and mobilize public and private capital to expand access to distributed clean energy solutions that will benefit disadvantaged communities in India and contribute to India’s ambitious renewable energy and energy access goals. USICEF builds on the success of other project preparation facilities to support renewable energy in emerging markets.
Through this initiative, project developers pursuing mini-grid, distributed rooftop and off-grid solar projects, as well as smaller-scale grid connected solar projects would be benefitted.During the event, Mr Udai Khemka presented Clean Energy Finance Forum (CEFF) Report to Shri Goyal. The report has been prepared after an extensive domestic and international consultation with all categories of financial Institutions (including pension funds, sovereign investors, insurance companies, other financial investors/funds, banks, investment banks etc.), multilateral institutions, as well as strategic investors and developers.CEFF has made recommendations which will help solicit greater investment into the renewable energy sector. Some of the key cross cutting recommendations includes to boost and Accelerate “Open Access” Markets; Improve PPA Bankability; Improve Ease of Access to Domestic Banking and Capital Markets; Encourage International Debt and Equity Investments and Mitigate Currency Risk.Shri Goyal assured that suggestions emerged out would be examined and corrective actions would be taken up soon. He also stated that the new initiative of USICEF launched today would help the early-stage project capital gap for distributed solar by supporting project preparation activities necessary to access long-term debt financing and unlocking OPIC and private finance.