USAID had already shown a desire to support the development of renewable energies and low-emission economies around the world with a variety of initiatives. It’s most recent pick of global development projects have a distinctive low-emission theme, with two such projects focused on solar research.
Funded through the Partnerships for Enhanced Engagement in Research (PEER), USAID’s US Global Development Lab chose 49 projects to receive $10 million to address gaps in scientific knowledge aimed at critical areas of development. Among those selected were two stand-out solar research projects in India and Morocco.
With India’s solar market experiencing an unprecedented boom, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed the country to installing 100 GW by 2022, one area of focus was the standards of solar within the country. As such, USAID will partner with General Electrics to fund and promote research to improve standards in India’s bustling solar industry.
USAID has already been collaborating with the government of India, through its clean energy programs, “to help the country transition to a high-performing, low-emission, energy-secure economy,” it said on its website. A big part of this is its Partnership to Advance Clean Energy – Deployment, which was launched in 2012, and which supported a 50 MW solar rooftop program with Indian Railways in 2015.
Morocco’s solar industry is significantly less developed, but over the last year there have been some rumblings of activity, with expectations rising for a promotion drive of solar within the country. The USAID project within Morocco will see research conducted on the integration of solar energy microgrids into ‘smart buildings’ as part of a partnership with National Instruments.