Earlier this month, the heads of about 40 countries landed in India for the first official Summit of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). This idea of making solar power, technology, and financing more accessible was put forth by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015; and the ISA was officially launched in December 2017.
The ISA is a non-profit, treaty-based group of 121 countries advocating the use of solar energy; it is a coalition of countries lying fully, or partially, between the tropics, mostly developing countries, which although endowed with excellent insolation (solar radiation that reaches the earth's surface), are energy deficient. The ISA is making a concerted and coordinated effort to bridge the yawning gap between demand and supply through applications of solar technologies in a cost-effective manner. The goal is to have 1 terawatt (TW) of solar energy by 2030, which is likely to cost $1 trillion. Emmanuel Macron, President of France tweeted: "Countries with the most solar potential are often the most in need of energy, but only a small share of electricity generation. With ISA Summit, we bring capabilities closer to needs." Member countries can collaborate to:
- Find locally appropriate solutions
- Aggregate demand to suitably modified and affordable technology
- Access financial resources necessary for large-scale deployment
India’s Role in the International Solar Alliance
India is a founding-member and plays a significant role in the ISA in terms of being a host as well as a major contributor to the achievement of the target. With a target to produce 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, India would account for a tenth of ISA’s goal.
With the ISA headquarters in Gurugram, India can take charge and transform the global energy scenario - from using fossil fuels to adopting cleaner sources of energy. Moreover, as the US has withdrawn from the Paris Agreement, “there is a seat open at the head table of climate leadership and India is very well poised to take that seat,” said an expert in the field of renewable energy. During the Indian government’s flagship renewable energy event, RE-Invest (Renewable Energy Investors’ Meet & Expo) in April, 121 different projects will be signed; and training programs will be conducted in renewable energy-related skills and a network of resources will be created. The organization is also working on other projects, such as promoting the use of solar pumps in farms, replacing diesel ones, or procuring financing for member countries, and promoting the use of mini-grids. At the Summit, the ISA launched a project to develop rooftop solar power.
10-point Action Plan
Speaking about promoting solar energy, Mr. Modi presented a 10-point Action Plan:
- Make solar technology affordable and easily available
- Increase the solar ratio in the energy mix
- Encourage innovative solutions
- Provide concessional financing at lower risk for solar projects
- Provide cheaper electricity
- Reduce carbon emissions
- Regulatory frameworks should be in place
- Consultancy support for increased participation
- Build Centers of Excellence
Look at our solar energy policy development in totality so that this can play a role in meeting the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals of the UN)