State Bank of India aims for 15GW

INDIA: The State Bank of India (SBI) is to invest $12 billion in developing 15GW of renewable energy by 2020.

The State Bank of India has pledged $12 billion in financing for renewable energy projects
The State Bank of India has pledged $12 billion in financing for renewable energy projects

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The announcement was made at the country's first Renewable Energy Global Investors Meet in New Dehli this week. The conference is looking to attract investment in India's renewable energy industry.

SBI chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya said the loans would be available to "viable" projects under its usual banking terms.

Bhattacharya also said interest rates will be dependent on size of the project, viability and associated risks. Interest rates could come down, she added, if the Reserve Bank of India classified renewable energy projects as a priority sector. This would increase banks' incentives to lend to developers.

There appears to be a big push towards renewable energy in India driven by new Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi included a promise to boost renewable energy in his party's winning manifesto at the last election in May 2014.

Last year, India installed 2.3GW of new wind capacity, which was the second largest amount in Asia. China dominated with 23GW of new capacity.

SBI's announcement comes on a wave of investment in the country. Last week, renewables investment fund Actis invested $230 million in a subsidiary looking to build 800MW by 2019.

Indian turbine manufacturer Suzlon has focused greatly on its domestic market. It revealed plans to develop 3GW of renewable energy in the state of Gujarat last month. Gujarat is Modi's home state.

Suzlon also joined a Government agreement to evaluate the potential for offshore wind development.

And in November, the US Export-Import bank revealed plans to provide $1 billion in financing for the sale of US-made renewable energy technology to India.

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