International Solar Alliance Established

IAS Prelims 2023

India launched an International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the CoP21 Climate Conference at Paris, with an announcement by Prime Minister Modi that the revolution in the field would bring power to all citizens, and create unlimited economic opportunity.

The new body, which has invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join, is to function from the National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon.

The Centre will provide land and $30 million to form a secretariat for the Alliance, and also support it for five years.

In its launch resolution, 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.

Among the tasks that the Alliance would pursue are, cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.

current affairs aprilABOUT ISA:

International Solar Alliance (ISA) is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.

ISA has been envisioned as a specialized platform and will contribute towards the common goal of increasing utilization and promotion of solar energy and solar applications in its member countries.

The Paris declaration on International Solar Alliance states that the countries share the collective ambition to undertake innovative and concerted efforts for reducing the cost of finance and cost of technology for immediate deployment of competitive solar generation, financial instruments to mobilise more than 1000 Billion US Dollars of investments needed by 2030 for the massive deployment of affordable solar energy and to pave the way for future solar generation, storage and good technologies for countries’ individual needs.

ISA will work with partner countries in the identification of national opportunities to accelerate development and deployment of existing clean solar energy technologies, the potential for which largely remains untapped.

The increased deployment of solar technologies will benefit the countries in terms of direct and indirect employment opportunities generated and the economic activity that will be triggered through electricity and solar appliance access to predominantly rural households.

Across developing countries, it is mostly micro, small and medium enterprises that generate most of the economic activity and are the ones that benefit the most from electricity access, as they will be able to operate into the evening and increase their turnover.

Increased deployment will also go a long way in realizing social benefits, for example through solar lanterns that improve educational outcomes from increased study hours, and lead to better health service delivery levels across communities.

MISSION & VISION

ISA’s Mission and Vision is to provide a platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where global community including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and stakeholders can make a positive contribution to the common goals of increasing utilizing of solar energy in meeting energy needs of ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner

OBJECTIVES

The overarching objective is to create a collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security & sustainable development; improve access to energy and opportunities for better livelihoods in rural and remote areas and to increase the standard of living.

ISA FOCUS AREA

To achieve the objectives, ISA will have five key focus areas:-

1. Promote solar technologies and investment in the solar sector to enhance income generation for the poor and global environment: Encourage member countries to promote investment in solar technologies/applications in areas of lighting, heating, cooling, distillation, desalination, disinfection, sterilization, pasteurization, pumping, storage, refrigeration, telecommunication, irrigation, drinking water supply, energy efficiency, etc. to promote income and welfare of the poor and make global environment more climate friendly;

2. Formulate projects and programmes to promote solar applications: Together and with partnership of member countries and with cooperation from international organizations, UN member countries, multilaterals, bi-laterals, corporates, non-profits, institutions of member and non-member countries of ISA, formulate projects and programmes to ensure solar light for energy deprived households by the year 2022;

3. Develop innovative Financial Mechanisms to reduce cost of capital: Partnering to develop innovative financial mechanism to access low cost, long tenure financial resources from bilateral, multilateral agencies and other sources;

4. Build a common Knowledge e-Portal: Build a knowledge platform, including a 24×7 e-portal for sharing of policy development experiences and best practices in member countries; and

5. Facilitate capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and R&D among member countries: Promote partnerships among R&D centres of member countries for application oriented research & development and delivering technologies to people as well as capacity building through training & educational programmes and exchange of officials/ entrepreneurs/sector experts/ students/interns/ apprentices, user groups etc.

These focus areas will cater to not just grid connected solar power (Solar parks, Solar thermal projects, Rooftop solar projects, Canal top projects, Solar on water bodies, Farmers and unemployed youths as generators) but also off-grid and decentralised applications (Village electrification and mini-grids, Solar lanterns, Mobile chargers, Solar powered telecom towers, Milk chilling centres, Potters wheels, Solar spinner for weavers, street lights, Solar pumps, Solar heating/cooling, etc.).

These activities will contribute significantly in employment generation in a decentralized manner at the local levels, and also in spurring economic activities.

IMPORTANT ACTIVITIES

To achieve the above overarching objectives, ISA, by way of supplementing the national efforts of the member countries, through appropriate means will undertake following activities:-

Collaborations for joint research, development and demonstration, sharing information and knowledge, capacity building, supporting technology hubs and creating networks;

Acquisition, diffusion and indigenization and absorption of knowledge, technology and skills by local stakeholders in the member countries;

Creation of expert groups for development of common standards, test, monitoring and verification protocols;

Creation of partnerships among country specific technology centres for supporting technology absorption for promoting energy security and energy access;

Exchange of officials/ technology specialists for participation in the training programmes on different aspects of solar energy in the member countries; Exchange of officials/ technology specialists for participation in the training programmes on different aspects of solar energy in the member countries;

Encourage companies in the member countries to set up joint ventures;

Sharing of solar energy development experiences, analysis on short- and longer-term issues in key energy supply, financing practices, business models particularly for decentralized applications and off-grid applications, including creation of local platforms focusing on implementation solutions and grass root participation;

Establish new financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital in the renewable energy sector and innovative financing to develop; and

Collaborate with other multilateral bodies like International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), International Energy Agency (IEA), Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN), United Nations bodies; bilateral organizations; Corporates, industry, and other stakeholders can contribute towards the goal of increasing utilization of solar energy in ISA member countries.

GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE

ISA is proposed to be a multi country partnership organization with membership from solar resource rich countries between the two tropics.

ISA’s proposed governance structure would consist of an Assembly, a Council and a However, it will be subject to member countries’ deliberations and suggestions.

The Assembly will provide guidance, direction and advice to the Secretariat for undertaking the activities. ISA’s detailed statute will be developed in consultation with member countries.

ISA SECRETARIAT

Government of India (GoI) will support ISA by hosting its Secretariat for an initial period of five years and thereafter it is expected to generate its own resources and become self-financing.

FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY

The total Government of India support including putting normative cost of the land will be about Rs 400 crore (US$ 62 million).

Government of India support of Rs 175 crore(US$ 27 million) will be utilized for creating building infrastructure and recurring expenditure. It will be provided over a 5 year period from 2016-17 to 2020-21.

The recurring expenditure on ISA will be met from membership fee; contributions from bilateral and multilateral agencies; other appropriate institutions; and also from interest earned from the augmented corpus to be built up with contribution from bilateral, multilateral agencies andother appropriate institutions.

Until another building is constructed, ISA will also use the newly built “Surya Bhawan” [Sun House] for its operations.

LIST OF PROSPECTIVE MEMBER COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES FOR ISA

107 countries from across the globe are part of the alliance and more are being asked to join it.

The sunshine countries comprises all major countries that lie between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, including Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, India, Australia, New Zealand, China and other countries.

A conclave started from November 30, 2015 for the sunshine grouping, christened as INSPA (International Agency for Solar Policy & Application).