The US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) initiative has been launched to pave the way to mobilise finance and support Indian-distributed clean energy projects.

This comes in the backdrop of a commitment made by the US and Indian governments to finance clean energy projects.

USICEF will deploy up to $20 million in project preparation support, sourced equally from leading foundations and the Indian Government, to distributed solar power projects under consideration for long-term financing from OPIC.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Good Energies Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation have committed funding to USICEF to begin operations, and Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) in Delhi has been selected as secretariat for the initiative.

The USICEF programme helps promising distributed solar projects develop into viable candidates for financing from The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US Government’s development finance institution, as well as other finance institutions.

This support will lay the foundation for project developers to access capital to scale up their businesses. It is proposed to target India’s distributed solar markets.

Santosh Vaidya, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, in a statement said, “India plans to deliver 100 GW of solar power by 2022. ICEF can help meet this goal, while also growing India’s economy by supporting the renewable energy industry from the ground up.”

“This initiative is a critical step towards increasing access to energy in under-served regions in India. The India Clean Energy Finance Initiative will support small projects with seed capital and assistance to help them grow as they then look to OPIC to work with,” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC’s President and CEO.

USICEF will build on the success of the United States-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative, which has deployed $20 million in grants and is on track to catalyse over $1 billion in project investment in Africa from a combination of private capital providers and OPIC.

Dr. Gireesh Shrimali, Director of CPI India, USICEF Secretariat, said: “Our analysis has shown huge potential for renewable energy companies to scale up in India, but many lack the much-needed debt capital. We are pleased to be part of this initiative that will help overcome this barrier, help this industry achieve scale, and help ensure India stays on track to realise its clean energy ambitions.”

Climate Policy Initiative works to improve the most important energy and land-use policies around the world, with a particular focus on finance. CPI has offices and programmes in Brazil, Europe, India, Indonesia, and the US.