The Bank is also supporting India’s UJALA program, through which the country has distributed more than 241 million LED bulbs, making it the largest and the first zero-subsidy national LED lighting program in the world. Residential consumers can get LED bulbs from UJALA distribution centers or through participating retailers and pay upfront or in smaller installments, which make the bulbs more accessible for poorer customers.
The program has helped save more than 6,000 MW of energy and resulted in a 25-million ton reduction in CO2 emissions per year. India plans to replace all of its 770 million incandescent bulbs with LEDs by 2019.
Other countries in the region are also adopting clean energy measures with support from the Bank.
Take Pakistan, for instance. Recognizing the potential of solar energy in the country, the Bank is helping map the country’s annual average solar power potential with a free, web-based app that has the capacity to zoom into areas with a spatial resolution of 1 km, or 0.6 of a mile. The tool provides access to high resolution global and regional maps and geographic information system (GIS) data, providing investors and solar developers with an easily accessible and uniform platform to compare resource potential between sites in one region or across multiple countries.
The Bank is also working with Pakistan on the Dasu Hydropower Project, which aims to improve the country’s energy security through the use of more low-carbon energy sources and make electricity access more affordable and prevent frequent blackouts for millions of consumers, including industry, households and farmers.
And , making it the largest program of its kind in the world. The country is also turning to standalone solar mini-grids to power up small businesses and homes in remote areas that the electricity grid does not reach, helping women like Lota Khatun earn an income.
Khatun lives with her family on the remote island of Monpura, which is served by a solar mini-grid. She now has electricity at night, and runs a sewing business from home.
“When we got solar, I bought this (sewing) machine,” Khatun said. “Now that we have light at night, I can sew at night.”