International Solar Alliance Gathers Momentum



President of France  Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a  metro
President of France Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a metro

Two months after announcing the International Solar Alliance (ISA) during COP21 in Paris, Indian Prime Minister Modi and French President Francois Hollande laid the foundation for the Solar Alliance headquarters in Gurgaon, Haryana. “France wants to build the post-Paris agreement world with India. The international solar alliance paves the way for it,” said Hollande. In a bid to drive home the need to conserve energy, Modi and Hollande took the metro to and fro the venue.

The headquarters of the ISA will come up on the five acre land provided by the National Institute of Solar Energy in Gurgaon. ” Few can gauge the long lasting impact the ISA will have for mankind, ” said PM Modi at the event where the interim secretariat of the ISA was also inaugurated. “It is important to realise that the development needs of the developing countries can only be met by energy. Hence the ISA will help cater to that need while remaining environmental friendly,” he said.

Praising India’s initiative the French Premier said the solar alliance is India’s gift to the world for combating climate change. ” The Alliance has France’s full support, ” he said.

Modi said that the institution will be the heritage of the world much like the UN and WHO. “The ISA headquarters will be a global independent body, a property of the entire world,” he said.

The International Solar Alliance proposal was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with other leaders at the opening of the climate change conference in Paris on 30 November 2015.

The Alliance primarily focuses on getting together the 120 countries located between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn which enjoy 300 or more sunny days to harness it as a source of renewable and clean energy. It has so far gathered support of a 100 countries.

France promises 300 mn euros towards Alliance

The French Development Agency will allocate 300 million euros for developing solar energy over next five years to finance initial projects under the International Solar Alliance.

“We will work with India on the vital issue of the cost of financing,” said Hollande.

India has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity by 35 percent by 2030 from 2005. It has also made commitment to produce 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energies by 2030. For this like all other developing countries it will require a large amount of financing.

From within the country, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) have promised one million each for the ISA respectively, announced Piyush Goyal, Minister of Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy.

Smart cities to go solar

President Holland announced France’s intention to support PM Modi’s 100 Smart Cities project. “We can link this initiative to the Solar Alliance projects by helping increase public lighting and supplying solar electricity to these cities,” he said.

Hailing the flagship project of the Centre as a innovative way to go green, he said that, “Through ‘Smart Cities’ India is showing that by turning to innovation, social and economic development can take place in a more sustainable and less energy intensive manner.”

‘ India’s commitment helped secure ambitious Paris agreement’

Hollande also used the occasion to highlighted India’s role in making a universal binding regulation on climate change a reality. “Thanks to India’s commitment , we were able to secure an ambitious, fair and dynamic agreement in Paris, which is binding for all humanity,” he said.

Talking specifically about the country’s contribution the French President lauded India for “enabling ‘climate justice’ to be placed at the heart of the Paris agreement.” The concept was the underlying argument of the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs)placed by India at the UNDP Climate Change Conference in November 2015.