Calls to convert roofs to solar power generators
By Duruthu Edirimuni Chandrasekera
Investment inquiries for solar transformation are encouraging and the government expects 2000 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy in the next two to three years, Secretary to the President Dr. P.B. Jayasundera said calling to convert any exposed roof to solar power generating units. “We are inviting all public and private sector investors to make this whole transformation happen,” he said addressing a symposium on “The Future of the Sri Lankan Economy” organised by the Colombo Development Symposium on Monday. The government has also aimed to generate 70 per cent of the electricity from renewable energy in 2030 and 100 per cent by 2050. Dr. Jayasundera said even the Treasury has 500 meters of an idling roof which can be transformed into a solar power generator. “Similarly, there are so many roofs exposed which can be transformed into generating solar power. It is important to implement such projects.” He added that certain donors pose the question of why Sri Lankan companies are investing in renewable energy in other countries. Sri Lanka could attract more investment in this sector, he reiterated. The government's plans to initiate talks with foreign parties to obtain green bond financing facilities to fund green ongoing projects, to meet the country’s climate commitments, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, was articulated by the Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa delivering the budget speech in Parliament recently. Echoing this, D r. Jayasundera stressed that global collaboration is necessary to find sustainable solutions to global issues such as climate change. “Climateresilient development is the future.” In the 2022 budget, it was proposed to allocate an additional Rs. 500 million for the facilitation of encouraging private investment in the renewable energy sector, to fulfill 70 per cent of the aggregate electricity demand through renewable energy by 2030. Chen Chen, Country Director Asian Development Bank ( ADB) addressing the symposium said incentivising the private sector investment in Sri Lanka for renewable energy building capacity is important. To achieve the 70 per cent renewable energy, another 4,500 MW capacity needs to be added to the existing 4,500 MW already in place, he said. “So it is basically doubling the capacity and it is a challenging target.” He pointed out that a policy framework is required for implementing renewable energy systems so that the private sector has the confidence to execute a stable revenue projection for their intended investments in this regard. Chiyo Kanda, Country Manager World Bank for Maldives and Sri Lanka joining in the discussion noted that the World Bank can provide a guarantee facility for the private sector to come in for renewable energy investment. “Private capital is very important for this kind of investment,” she said. She added that they can assist with a climate investment fund, green climate fund etc for certain types of renewable energy resources. Mr. Chen pointed out that in the next nine years US$1.3 trillion investment will be done by ADB in the Asia Pacific region in renewable energy. He added that it is important for Sri Lanka too to see how much they can attract from this pool of investment.