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Monday, July 23, 2018

You have heard of the International Solar Alliance, but what really happens there?

The International Solar Alliance is the first international treaty-based organisation that enables co-operation among sun-rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 12, 2018 11:36:23 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with French President Emmanuel Macron in Delhi during the International Solar Alliance summit. (Express photo)

The maiden summit of the International Solar Alliance, hosted by New Delhi on Sunday, saw India assume a leadership role perhaps for the first time. Co-hosted with France, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged to generate 175 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from renewable energy sources by 2022, including 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind. India has launched the “world’s biggest renewable energy programme” with this target in mind, he said. Here is all you need to know about the solar alliance:

What is the International Solar Alliance?

The International Solar Alliance is the first international treaty-based organisation that enables co-operation among sun-rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, as this is the region worldwide with a surplus of bright sunlight for most of the year, who are seeking to ramp up solar energy, thereby helping to bend the global greenhouse emissions curve whilst providing clean and cheap energy.

When was the International Solar Alliance formed?

It was established following the Paris Declaration at the UN Climate Change Conference on November 30, 2015. The International Solar Alliance was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande. The idea was to form a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps in their energy requirements through a common approach.

What are the goals and focus areas of the International Solar Alliance?

The ISA has set a target of 1 TW of solar energy by 2030, which would require $1 trillion to achieve. India has set an ambitious target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind energy. The key focus areas of the alliance are promoting solar technologies, new business models and investment in the solar sector, formulate projects and programmes to promote solar applications, develop innovative financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital build, a common knowledge e-Portal to facilitate capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and R&D among member countries.

Who are the member countries?

The ISA is open to 121 member countries, most of them located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. So far, 61 countries have joined the alliance and 32 have ratified the framework agreement.

ALSO READ: India co-hosts first solar alliance meet, PM Modi says 100 GW by 2022

What is India’s role?

Apart from being a founding member, India will play a major role in achieving the target. The Indian government will contribute $27 million to the ISA for building infrastructure and recurring expenditure over a 5-year duration from 2016-17 to 2020-21. According to Reuters, France will commit 700 million euros to the alliance. The ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India. India will also provide 500 training slots for ISA member-countries and start a solar tech mission to lead R&D.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express photo/Amit Mehra) Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with French President Emmanuel Macron before their meeting at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Saturday. (Express photo/Amit Mehra)

What happened at the first ISA summit?

India and France co-hosted the first summit of the International Solar Alliance at Rashtrapati Bhavan on Sunday. The meeting was co-chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron and was attended by 21 countries. In his speech, Modi called for concessional and less-risky finances for raising the share of solar electricity available for such projects to achieve the ISA target of over 1000 GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over $1 trillion by 2030. “We have to increase the share of solar in the energy mix,” he said.

Modi also presented a 10-point action plan that included making affordable solar technology available to all nations, raising the share of electricity generated from photovoltaic cells, framing regulations and standards, providing consultancy support for bankable solar projects and creating a network of centres for excellence. Macron, meanwhile, announced a common risk mitigation mechanism to be put in place before the end of 2018.

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