Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President of France François Hollande have jointly laid the foundation stone of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with focus on effective utilisation of solar energy
Declaration on the occasion to launch the international solar alliance of countries dedicated to the promotion of solar energy: “Recognising that sustainable development, universal energy access, and energy security are critical to the shared prosperity and future of our planet, and acknowledging that clean and renewable energy needs to be made affordable for all, we do hereby declare our intention to support India’s proposal to launch an international solar alliance as a common platform for cooperation among solar resource-rich countries lying fully or practically between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.”
On November 30, 2015, on the sidelines of COP21 (UN Climate Change Conference ), our Prime Minister jointly with the President of France had launched the International Solar Alliance of 121 solar rich but economically not so rich countries fully or partly lying between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. Later others countries not from that area like USA, UK, Netherland and China have also joined this initiative. France is, of course, its co-sponsor.
Solar-rich developing countries suffer from lack of systematic information about the on-ground requirements as well as scarce opportunities for capacity building and training of users of technologies and finally, a shortage of suitable financing arrangements to make new technologies affordable to very poor users who require them.“If they can share their experiences and mobilise in order to close their technological gaps by cooperating with each other, solutions will be found and will also be scaled up leading to lower costs. This cooperation and coordination role is proposed to be filled by ISA..”
On April 22, 2016, eight countries assembled in New York to launch two major initiatives under ISA. One was ‘scaling solar applications for agriculture’ and the other ‘affordable finance at scale’. The first aimed at not only developing innovative technologies for application of solar energy in agriculture but also benchmarks and testing for quality control of the equipment, training and technology transfer, streamlining the tendering process for its procurement and monitoring of the implementation of such projects. Chairperson of COP21 summarised it in stating that solar irrigation pumps will be the area of major focus.
Affordable Financing at Scale aims at reducing the cost of financing of solar projects and mobilising $1 trillion by 2030 for this purpose. On June 30, 2016, President of the World Bank on his visit to India agreed to not only develop the roadmap for mobilisation of that much amount by 2030 but also the instruments for extending concessional finance to the beneficiaries and help in technology transfer etc.
Also on the sideline of COP21, MNCs lead by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have started the Breakthrough Energy Coalition as an investment platform. Hopes, therefore, are high that soon we may see renewable energy particularly solar power technology witnessing exponential growth like we have been witnessing in information and communication technology. Once that happens, the day would not be far when alternative resources become major power resources and polluting fossil fuels are relegated to the alternative position.
With the audacious 100 GW plan for solar generation in such a short span should leave no one in doubt about its sincerity to solar power. India is advocating and facilitating solar energy because we sincere feel that this is the only long term solution to mankind’s' energy needs that is clean and affordable. Taking the lead comes naturally from our sincerity. n