“The Sun is the source of all energy. The world must turn to solar, the power of our future”, said PM Modi while launching International Solar Alliance (ISA) along with France at Paris Climate Summit. This alliance includes more than 120 countries that supported the declaration on Solar Alliance.
The International Solar Alliance is a group of countries within the tropics (Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn) which receive sunshine for more than 300 days. Hence, these countries can tap a lot of solar energy. The idea is to bring together all such countries and have a common programme and development. Majority of these countries are poor and least developed ones.
Headquarters of ISA will be in India
India gave a corpus of 100 crores
India will also give secretarial assistance of 225 crores for the next five years
Whatever solar energy that comes from Sun in one day, it is enough for entire globe to use for one year. But we can’t fully capture it.
Financing solar projects is a big challenge. Even though international financial institutions like World Bank, AIIB, NDB and public and private investments are there, there is no established renewable energy policy; there is no ecosystem that creates a willingness to buy and set up renewable energy; there is no proper integration method with conventional energy. Hence, the focus of ISA will be on policy, ecosystem and integration with regard to solar energy.
The valedictory note at the launch of ISA was given by a private sector head, not by the President of any country or head of the UN. This shows that private sector is willing to come forward to invest in solar energy. The private sector will support $500 million and public sector another $500 million. This gives ISA the financial sustainability.
ISA can promote the new financial mechanisms that are currently popular in India like masala bods and green solar bonds, for raising cheap money in other countries also.
ISA has 24×7 Solar Cyber Centre which is open for access to all countries for information and advice on various projects and financial innovation.
ISA can also play an advocacy role asking the multilateral/international financial institutions to give part of their lending to solar energy; like what RBI did in India – up to 15 crore investment in renewable energy is a priority sector lending; up to 10 lakh in rooftop solar panels is a priority sector lending. These sorts of best practises can be adopted by ISA and advocate to the financial institutions.
How is ISA different from other such organizations?
There are other organizations/institutions like IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), IEA (International Energy Agency), and REEP (Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership) which focus on multiple renewable energy sources. But ISA will focus exclusively on solar energy. Moreover, in no other organization UN is a partner. But for ISA, UN is a partner. Also, ISA is action oriented organisation. It’s not going to give seminars, research papers, reports etc. like the other organisations.