International Solar Alliance – An Indian initiative

International Solar Alliance (ISA) was conceived and announced by Prime Minister Modi and former French President Hollande in 2015 at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris. In 2018, ISI was launched in New Delhi by PM Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron along with over 20 other Heads of State and governments. It has become a North-South collaborative paradigm in the wake of adverse climate change that threatens human existence. Even when the Climate Change Treaty was under threat with President Trump announcing withdrawal, the USA did become a part of ISA and lauded India’s efforts.

ISI is a common platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. More than 89 countries have already signed the ISA Framework Agreement and 72 have ratified it by the middle of 2020. Australia, Bangladesh, Cuba, France, Ghana, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Togo, the UAE and Venezuela are among those that have ratified the agreement.

ISA aims to deploy 1000 GW of solar capacity. It will need $1000 bn of investment until 2030. President Macron announced Euro 700 mn for financing the ISI objectives. India has also allocated nearly $2 bn for funding the solar projects from its Africa Fund for development. The way forward to harness the renewable energy included making solar technology affordable to all nations, raising the share of electricity generated from photovoltaic cells in the energy mix, framing regulations and standards, consultancy support for bankable solar projects and creating a network of centers for excellence.

PM Modi in his ISI inaugural address announced India’s commitment to extend $ 1.4 billion worth of lines of credit which will cover 27 projects in 15 countries. India has been diversifying its own energy sources from fossil fuels to renewables. It is increasing the share of renewable energy significantly and plans to produce 175 GW of which 100 GW will be from solar energy by 2022. Already during 2017 India had crossed 20 GW of solar energy which is the highest growth of almost 140% in the world in this sector. Renewable energy capacity in India increased from 39 GW to 63 GW during the last two years, However, certain limitations and constraints need to be overcome by a dynamic policy framework which should address the legitimate interests of manufacturers, producers and consumers. The manufacturers and producers wanted the withdrawal of recent imposition of 5% tax apart from enhanced duties on imported photovoltaic cells and panels. Cost competitiveness & high T&D losses, focus of manufactures of PV cells on export markets rather than local, availability of land, complex subsidy structure, storage batteries, technology, etc., pose significant constraints on achieving solar power generation on the real and desired scale.

With the establishment of its headquarters in Gurgaon, India the projects and focused approach of ISI will hopefully move with the requisite speed to achieve desired objectives.

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