India and France announced ambitious plans under their solar alliance initiative to ensure affordable financing and help facilitate investment of more than a trillion dollars in solar assets besides scaling up solar applications for agricultural use. Power, Coal and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal and French Minister of Environment, Energy and the Sea, in charge of International Relations on Climate and President of COP21 Segolene Royal co-chaired a ministerial side event on International Solar Alliance (ISA) here on Friday. The ministers launched the ‘Affordable finance at scale’ and ‘Scaling solar applications for agricultural use’ programmes during the event held as 175 nations were signing the Paris climate change agreement in the UN General Assembly hall at a ceremony hosted by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. With a view to accelerate massive deployment of solar energy at various scales in their countries, the ministers agreed to take concerted action through targeted programmes launched on a voluntary basis, to better harmonise and aggregate the demand for solar finance, so as to lower the cost of finance and facilitate the flow of more than a trillion dollars investment in solar assets in member countries. The solar finance is also aimed at scaling up solar technologies that are currently deployed only at small scale as well as bringing in investments in future solar technologies and capacity building, through strategic and collaborative solar R&D, to improve the efficiency and integration of solar power as well as increase the number of solar applications available. “We are working towards a shared vision and goal to take the solar initiative forward not just because it is about clean and renewable energy helping us address the concerns of climate change but also because it is about energy security and it is about our response to probably the world’s largest challenge that humanity has ever faced,” Goyal said. Ministers and representatives from over 25 countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, Namibia, Uganda, Nigeria, Peru, Djibouti, Surinam, Zambia, Bolivia, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Mali and the US, participated in the event. Goyal said while one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals aims at ensuring affordable energy to people across the world by 2030, “my own personal vision is that if all of us get together in the true spirit of cooperation and supporting each others’ initiatives, we can make this dream happen much faster than 2030”. He said that there is no reason why all the countries of the world have to allow people in other parts of the world to “remain deprived of energy” for the next 14 years. He added that if the international community works in “mission mode”, energy access can be provided to people across boundaries may be in the next 5-7 years only. Goyal pointed out that he is working to fulfill India’s target of providing 24X7 quality and affordable energy access to every citizen by 2019, earlier than the targeted year of 2022. As an initial step, the ministers agreed to start analysing and sharing the needs, objectives and obstacles to deployment at scale along the value chain for applications for which they seek benefits of collective action under the alliance. On this basis, they will further design innovative programmes leveraging initiatives from the ground. Goyal expressed confidence that these programmes will serve the interests of the farming communities in the prospective ISA member countries and ensure that there is sufficient flow of affordable finance for solar projects. He further stated that the ISA will provide a crucial platform to bring together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate demand for solar energy globally, helping to reduce prices; promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity; and facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale.
Source: Business Standard