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India is emerging as a front runner in the global fight against climate change-World Bank

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With 1.3 billion people, is the world's third largest consumer of electricity. Over 450 million ceiling fans are in use and 40 million sold each year, but 240 million people still have no legal electricity connection. Demand for electricity is growing at the same rate as in France or Germany as millions of people in rural or impoverished areas seek access to power in their homes and workplaces.

With a sweeping commitment to solar power, innovative solutions and energy efficiency initiatives to supply its people with 24x7 electricity by 2030, is emerging as a front runner in the global fight against climate change.

The World is committed to supporting Indias solar energy push. The is providing more than $1 billion to support Indias solar plans, starting with a Grid Connected Rooftop Solar project that aims to put solar panels on rooftops across the country, and 100MW of energy has already been financed through this project. Exactly a year ago, on June 30, 2016, the institution signed an agreement with the International Solar Alliance (ISA), consisting of 121 countries led by India, to collaborate on increasing solar energy use around the world and mobilize $1 trillion in investments by 2030.

With its conscious choice to use significantly more clean energy to fuel its growth, is contributing to global efforts to save the planet from the effects of climate change. Just a few weeks ago, the country also walked away from plans to install nearly 14 GW of coal-fired power plants, largely because it is as affordable now to generate electricity with solar power as it is to use fossil fuels.

In and beyond, solar power is starting to displace coal as an energy source. The cost of electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) is currently a quarter of what it was in 2009 and is set to fall another 66% by 2040. That means, a dollar will buy 2.3 times as much solar energy in 2040 than it does today. With nearly 300 days of sunshine every year, has among the best conditions in the world to capture and use solar energy.

Clearly, the market agrees, as is evident from the significant drop in the cost of solar power. In its latest solar auction, the country achieved a record low tariff of INR 2.44/unit (4 cents/unit) for a project in the desert state of Rajasthan.

The Indian government is setting ambitious targets that include 160 gigawatts (GW) of wind and solar by 2022. Not only will this help hundreds of million people light their homes it will also enable children to study at night, provide families with refrigerators to preserve their food or TVs to entertain themselves after a long day of work. It is also an incentive for international firms to invest in India's solar market.

The is also working with on solar parks, innovative solutions to store solar power and support for mini grids. The institutions backing will increase the availability of private financing, introduce new technologies, and enable the development of common infrastructure to support privately developed solar parks across

The World financing, routed through State of (SBI), is the first time that a dedicated institutional financing has been made available for rooftop solar power plants, Sanjeev Aggarwal, Founder and MD& CEO of Amplus Solar. "This financing will help in expeditious adoption of distributed solar by Indian consumers and will act as a significant catalyst for the growth of the rooftop solar sector in We will continue to work with World and SBI to create innovative credit structures so that benefits of this attractive financing scheme will reach the maximum number of consumers."

In turning to solar, has sought creative solutions to challenges such as limited land availability to host solar panels for a rapidly growing population. It must go beyond what Morocco has done, for instance, with its concentrated solar power that requires large tracts of land to set up giant mirrors and lenses. So, in addition to its solar parks, is installing solar panels on rooftops and floating solar platforms on rivers and other bodies of water. It also has ambitious plans to only sell electric cars by 2030.

India's greenhouse gas emissions are predicted to keep increasing at least until 2030 V something it is working hard to change with serious energy efficiency measures.

The is also supporting India's UJALA program, through which the country has distributed more than 241 million LED bulbs, making it the largest and the first zero-subsidy national LED lighting program in the world. Residential consumers can get LED bulbs from UJALA distribution centers or through participating retailers and pay upfront or in smaller installments, which make the bulbs more accessible for poorer customers.

The program has helped save more than 6,000 MW of energy and resulted in a 25-million ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year. plans to replace all of its 770 million incandescent bulbs with LEDs by 2019.

Other countries in the region are also adopting clean energy measures with support from the

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(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, July 13 2017. 13:30 IST