As US touts coal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s sunshine club gets ambitious. Just weeks before it is recognized as a United Nations treaty organization, the International Solar Alliance announces a target to support setting up 1000GW of solar energy capacity by 2030 across its member countries.
This initiative by India to harness the untapped resource of sunshine-rich countries between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn was backed by the France, and was launched at the Paris climate talks in 2015. Sixteen countries have ratified the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and it will come into force on December 6, when it will recognized as a UN treaty body.
The ambitious target that will help move countries, especially developing countries, on a low carbon energy path was announced on the day that the United States touted the value of coal as a energy source at an official programme organized by the US government at the UN-sponsodd climate talks.
The bulk of the 121 countries that are located within the tropics are rich in solar resources despite which large sections of their populations have little or no access to energy. The Alliance aims to remedy this situation by offering cooperation for better technology diffusion, faster costs reductions, and sound policy lessons to partners of the coalition.
“The 1000 GW target has been set by the ISA. It will be met through projects that ISA will support under its various work programmes. This target does not take into account renewable energy targets or projects that countries are pursuing on their own as part of their national efforts,” said Anand Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
The ISA is focused on identifying solutions that are locally appropriate and for difficult conditions, while remaining affordable.
The alliance is “bold global initiative” on which “our hope for a sustainable planet rests” as developing world works to life billions of its people into prosperity. In an effort to ensure faster difussion of solar energy especially in the poorest countries, India has called on the industrialised countries to earmark a percentage of Overseas Development Assistance towards solar energy projects in developing countries.
At the heart of ISA’s manadate is ensuring the successful take of efforts on the ground that furthering the adoption of solar energy. To this end, India which the brainchild behind the alliance suggested that Multilateral Development Banks and other financial institutions support solar projects through low-cost finance, and research & technology institutions worldwide try their utmost to bring the cost of solar power and storage within reach of all.