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Current Affairs, Infomaterials

International Solar Alliance and India

The founding ceremony of the International Solar Alliance was held in New Delhi on March 11. Here, India announced one of the world’s largest investment plans in solar energy at the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). The $1.4 billion line of credit will cover 27 projects in 15 countries and boost the much-required financial power to the solar sector. India will provide assistance to 15 countries for $1.4 billion.

The Founding Conference was co-chaired by Mr. Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron. Mr. Modi presented a 10-point action plan aimed at making solar power more affordable while raising the share of power generated. The conference was attended by 23 heads of states and governments from all over the world.

International Solar Alliance

The alliance is also called International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA). The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. This initiative was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in November 2015 at Wembley Stadium, in which he referred to sunshine countries as Suryaputra (“Sons of the Sun”). The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.

The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Africa Summit, and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, and 121 countries have joined.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, 2015. 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. Towards this, the ISA has set a target of 1 TW of solar energy by 2030, which current French President Emmanuel Macron said would require $1 trillion to achieve.

Head Quarters

It is to be headquartered in India. In January 2016, Narendra Modi, and the French President François Hollande jointly laid the foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat at the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gwalpahari, Gurugram, India. The Indian government has dedicated five acres of land on the NISE campus for it’s future headquarters; it also has contributed ₹1.75 billion (US$27 million) to the fund to build a campus and for meeting expenditures for the first five years.

Member Countries

The ISA is open to 121 prospective member countries, most of them located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn as this is the region worldwide with a surplus of bright sunlight for most of the year. So far, however, only 56 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement. These include Australia, Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Djibouti, Dominican, Republic, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Fiji, France, Gambia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, India, Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Tanzania, Togo, Tonga, Tuvalu, UAE, Uganda, Vanuatu, Venezuela and Yemen.

Role of India

Apart from being a founding-member, India plays a significant role in the alliance in terms of being a host as well as a major contributor to the achievement of the target. The ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India. India, with a target to produce 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, would account for a tenth of ISA’s goal. Distribution of 28 crore LED bulbs in three years has saved $2 billion and 4 GW of electricity. India will also provide 500 training slots for ISA member-countries and start a solar tech mission to lead R&D.


Sources and References:

  1. International Solar Alliance Official Website
  2. Wikipedia
  3. The Hindu
  4. Indian Express
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