Solar power from the rooftops in Sri Lanka

Project Result / Case Study | 23 March 2021

Rooftops across Sri Lanka are harnessing solar power that is contributing to the country’s clean energy mix and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Sri Lanka - ADB is supporting Sri Lanka’s bid to increase the use of solar power and other renewable energy sources in providing electricity to the whole country and meet its commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change. The government’s Battle for Solar Energy program envisions 1000 megawatts of solar power generation capacity by 2025—all from the rooftops of homes and businesses.

In 2017, ADB approved a $50 million loan for Sri Lanka’s Rooftop Solar Power Generation Project, which would finance the development of rooftop solar photovoltaic systems and support the government’s target to increase the share of nonconventional renewable energy generation in Sri Lanka’s power generation mix. The project provided the credit line that would enable businesses and households to finance the installation of solar PV generation facilities atop their houses and building.

The Ministry of Finance is managing the credit line, in close collaboration with the Ministry of Power, and Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority. Funds are channeled to the beneficiaries through selected participating financial institutions.

Getting ready to go solar

To ensure the smooth implementation of the investment project, ADB provided $1 million for project readiness activities. Financing came from ADB’s Asian Clean Energy Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility.

Project readiness activities included the preparation of technical guidelines and standards to be used in rooftop solar installations and the creation of a pipeline of bankable subprojects through the participation of financial institutions. By the end of 2019, about 2,081 subprojects have been approved amounting to 23.5 megawatts of total solar PV installations. Technical verification post-installation was also supported. A detailed research study on large-scale photovoltaic integration to the grid was also conducted.

A project website that provides a platform to facilitate potential consumers to invest in solar rooftop systems and monitor the rooftop solar installations was launched in March 2019. In January 2020, a solar investment calculator was introduced to the website to be used as a guide to domestic consumers interested in investing in a solar rooftop system to assess its viability. A comprehensive database of all 175 project installations is also being maintained.

Capacity building with technical workshops for over 80 technicians and awareness-creation workshops for over 150 representatives of participating financial institutes, developers, and government agencies were also conducted.

Increasing solar power capacity

The project is boosting access to clean and reliable power in Sri Lanka by financing solar rooftop power subprojects across the country through private sector partners and customers. 

In 2020, the Clean Energy Fund under the Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility provided additional financing of $250,000 to help increase the installed renewable energy capacity from solar rooftop systems and enhance the capacity of stakeholder for future solar installations.

With the additional financing, this has been increased to an expected capacity of 60 MW with an estimated gross power generation of 94.6 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year. The initial project design was to add 50 MW of renewable energy capacity from solar rooftop subprojects.

Upon completion, the project is expected to reduce Sri Lanka’s greenhouse gas emissions by 66,800 tons of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) annually. It is also developing market infrastructure for the solar rooftop systems through greater cooperation with private financial institutions.