The Sun and its Nations

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The international Solar Alliance (ISA)

India’s global initiative on the harnessing of sustainable energy

It was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of France on November 30th, 2015, in Paris, at the United Nations Climate Conference. It was also presented at the India Africa summit in New Delhi and at Narendra Modi’s speech at London’s Wembley stadium in the year 2015.

The ISA has its’ headquarters in India. The secretariat is located at National Institute of Solar Energy, Gurgaon, in Haryana. It is aimed at tapping solar energy that concentrates in countries where Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn is present completely or partially. It is the first of its’ kind treaty-based intergovernmental organization that came into force in December 2017.

Mission

It shall globally deploy 1000GW of solar energy generation capacity and usage of investments of over US $1000 billion into solar energy resources by 2030. It aims at bringing the countries blessed with these resources together, so as to deflate prices through bulk purchase, facilitate existing solar technology and aggregate world demand. During the conference, the International Energy Agency signed a Joint Partnership Declaration with ISA. Asian Infrastructure Bank, Green Climate Fund, New Development Bank and Asian Development Bank were among the ones to sign declarations with ISA. Earlier ISA has had partnerships with World Bank, European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Legal framework

India and France are strengthening their ties, through diplomatic efforts of building the legal Skeleton of ISA. Many more nations those were not inducted as members have expressed their interest in joining the alliance. The first Director-General of ISA Mr Upendra Tripathy has confirmed that the respective countries may join as a partner country but whether or not they will have Voting rights is yet to be considered.

This will allow countries like Pakistan who do not fall in the region of tropics, to come on board. Germany, South Korea, Mongolia, and Nepal have approached for membership of ISA with voting rights. This is to be decided by the steering committee jointly headed by India and France.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had previously issued a statement that on December 6, 2017, the ISA had become a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization. This came after a framework ratification from Guinea as the 15th country.

Indian roots

In a statement from Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, stating India-France cooperation ranges from the ground to the sky, French President hailed efforts of India. So far, 62 member nations on March 11th, 2018 have committed to do their part to increase solar power share in the different energy resources. The Delhi Solar Agenda was launched in this funding summit. 32 nations have ratified including Bangladesh, Peru, and Australia. This is a brainchild for beneficial partnerships for tackling clean energy and environment-friendly technology. India has also pledged to set up a project preparation facility for viable projects. This is to be selected from a list of consultancy firms prepared by Exim Bank of India. In his inaugural address, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi mentioned 27 proposed projects which comprise of a total funding of $1.4 billion. As of now, 13 projects are being funded by a line of credit provided by India. There is an international team of experts working on the blueprint mechanism of ISA and a Common Risk Mitigating Mechanism was also rolled out. This is to protect investor’s interests so that more investment can be attracted. The objective is to try to limit climate change by restricting global warming levels below 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The countries in the treaty have optimal sunlight absorption and sunlight for almost 300 days of a year.

Road Ahead

As per plans for remote and poor areas, there shall be off-grid solar applications. Work shall be in progress to facilitate awareness and skill enhancement. Development and research by partner nations shall look towards cost-effective solutions, business models, equipment and technological advancements.

President Emmanuel Macron pledged over $860 million for solar projects, with already $ 369 million invested in, when the initiative was cofounded. The French Development Agency shall also allocate $860 million by 2022 to the cause. He lauded India’s efforts of successfully achieving the target of generating 20GW of solar energy by 2022, four years before its target. India’s solar energy capacity has increased by 140%. The French President tweeted about Delhi, being the world capital of the sun, this weekend.

The Indian Prime Minister cited the example of solar lamps distributed to school children under the ‘’Atal Jyoti Yojna’’. He announced 500 training slots yearly for member states in ISA. India has contributed $62 million for the ISA corpus fund for running the secretariat in India for the next five years.

The world capital of Sun

With the United States of America pulling out of the Paris Agreement, India seems to be advancing towards a strategic leadership in the climatic conservation arena. Earlier China had manoeuvred ahead with its clean energy projects but with ISA, India seems to have picked up the pace. The Prime Minister this weekend invoked the Vedas in his statements. Stating the sun as the soul of the world and a nurturer of life, he urged people to look at this direction for developments. The Prime Minister’s Office tweeted about the performance of Solar Mamas on the song ‘’we shall Overcome’’ and its Hindi version “Hum Honge Kamyaab”. The solar Mamas are a group of African women trained under Indian support programs in Ajmer, to tackle solar energy. With a show of support and goodwill, the ISA has marked the start of its revolution around the Sun. It is now to be seen, where it leads India in its diplomatic and climate leadership endeavours.

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