The much touted International Solar Alliance (ISA) of sunshine-rich countries was finally launched at the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris on November 30, with an announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the solar revolution would bring power to all citizens, and create unlimited economic opportunities.
Mr Modi has invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join the International Solar Alliance. The new body will function from the National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon. Land will be provided by the centre, along with USD 30 million to form a secretariat for the Alliance, and also support it for five years, Mr Modi said at an event that was co-chaired by France’s President Francois Hollande.
The ISA says it seeks to share collective ambitions to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely; generation and storage technologies would be adapted to the individual countries’ needs. “The vast majority of humanity is blessed with generous sunlight round the year. Yet, many are also without any source of power. This is why this alliance is so important. We want to bring solar energy into our lives and homes, by making it cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to grid,” Mr Modi said while invoking ancient Vedic chants. “We will collaborate on research and innovation. We will share knowledge and exchange best practices,” Mr Modi added.
The alliance would pursue tasks such as cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures. In his address to a packed audience, which was treated to visuals and a song on the theme, Mr Modi said solar had created a revolution, as costs had declined sharply, technology continued to evolve and grid connectivity was improving. The response from industry was also encouraging. Mr Modi presented “Convenient Action”, a book he has written on the Gujarat experience with solar energy and a music CD with songs on the environment to Mr. Hollande.
Praising India’s success in adopting the technology, as witnessed in the solar projects in Gujarat, the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations would work closely with the ISA.
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