India, France warm up to solar alliance

Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had together launched the Solar Alliance in Paris during the climate conference last month.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: January 26, 2016 3:48 pm

French Development Agency will contribute 300 million euros for the development of solar energy over the next five years in order to finance the initial projects to be undertaken by the International Solar Alliance (ISA), French President Francois Hollande said Monday.

Speaking at an event in Gurgaon to lay the foundation stone for ISA headquarters and secretariat, Hollande said the India-led initiative will require an investment of about 1,200 billion euros to achieve the target of installing 1000 GW solar energy by 2030, and it has the full support of France.

Watch Video: French President Francois Hollande’s India Visit: Key Takeaways

Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had together launched the Solar Alliance in Paris during the climate conference last month. The alliance seeks to bring together 121 tropical countries in a global effort to use solar energy and move away from fossil fuels.

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Modi had first spoken about the Solar Alliance plan in 2014 while announcing a five-fold increase in India’s target for solar energy production by 2022.

“It (Solar Alliance) was a fine idea from a country where, for millennia, yoga practitioners have greeted the sun every morning so that it shares its energy with the earth,” Hollande said. “Now that COP21 (Paris climate conference) is over, a new phase is beginning in which our words must become actions… without waiting for the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in 2020.”

The headquarters of the International Solar Alliance will come up on a 5-acre plot on the National Institute of Solar Energy campus in Gurgaon. India has promised Rs 175 crore for constructing the building, other infrastructure and meeting the recurring expenditure for five years. This is part of the Rs 400-crore pledge that India has made for the ISA.

Speaking on the occasion, Modi said, “Development cannot be ensured without production of energy. But if fossil fuels are used, it leads to global warming…. This alliance, which will impact generations, would ensure that the world gets more energy and there is focus on innovation.”

Hollande said contributing to the success of the alliance also meant greater cooperation in the field of renewable energy and joint Indo-French projects. He said French companies were already involved in solar energy in India, accounting for 10 per cent of the installed capacity. “Many projects are being set up and agreements have again been started during this visit. I propose our target should be to build at least 10 GW of new capacity,” he said, adding that France will help in the Smart Cities project as well.