Raipur – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chhattisgarh Renewable Energy Development Agency (CREDA) to jointly work on the deployment and financing of off-grid renewable energy projects. As part of this initiative, USAID will help design and implement a state level off-grid fund, and support CREDA in the development and implementation of pilot programs including smaller micro-grids (localized and decentralized electricity grids) for irrigation and other energy use.
“Distributed renewable energy systems can play a key role in enhancing energy access and improving the quality of life. We are happy to partner with CREDA to test new business and financing models for off-grid renewable energy in the state,” said Colin Dreizin, Director of the Clean Energy and Environment Office, USAID/India.
There is a huge opportunity for off-grid and micro-grid solutions in Chhattisgarh. Since deployment of these technologies at the rural community level is capital intensive, CREDA is working on several initiatives to facilitate access to finance, including the “Distributed Renewable Energy-Community Fund.” The proposed fund will leverage corporate social responsibility contributions to create community-owned renewable energy systems, which will serve the needs of households, schools, health centers, irrigation, drinking water, and other commercial and local industrial activities.
“Chhattisgarh has electrified more than 1,700 villages through solar power. I look forward to expanding our work in this area as it delivers benefits such as employment, income generation, health, education, sanitation, drinking water and anganbadi centres,” said S. K. Shukla, Chief Executive Officer of CREDA.
In the coming months, USAID will help CREDA to develop an implementation strategy for various rural off-grid programs and projects and assist in the design, structure, and operationalization of the proposed fund. The Memorandum was signed at an event organized by USAID and CREDA, as part of the USAID-funded Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) program and extensive India-U.S. nationwide cooperation on energy efficiency and clean energy.