FOUNDING CONFERENCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE
Apart from the President of France and the Indian Prime Minister, 21 Heads of State and Heads of Government, 6 Vice Presidents and Deputy Prime Ministers, 19 Ministers as Heads of Delegation attended the founding conference in addition to many other ministers who were accompanying the Heads of State and Heads of Government. Ten heads of multilateral banks, top representatives from UN agencies, corporate sector particularly in renewable energy, civil society, academic and research institutions and think tanks were present from India and from all over the world. Before the conference more than half the potential States, that is, 61 countries had signed the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Framework and 32 had ratified it already
It was evident that there has been a huge surge and interest in joining the ISA as witnessed by the presence of so many high level dignitaries. It signifies the commitment at the highest level of these founding States of the ISA to go for clean, affordable, appropriate and sustainable energy to make our world a better place to live in. Sustainable development has received a very huge boost.
THE INAUGURAL SESSION
The inaugural session was launched with the soulful rendering of the ‘We shall overcome’ by the solar mamas who have all been trained in India under the ITEC (India Technical Economic Cooperation) programme. They stand as a symbol of what can be achieved at the grassroots level to bring about genuine change in the lives of local communities.
The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, in his inaugural address inter-alia announced India’s commitment to extend nearly $1.4 billion worth of lines of credit which will cover 27 projects in 15 countries. This initiative has been widely welcomed by the ISA Founding States and the beneficiary countries. This is indeed one of the largest commitments to financing solar energy projects around the world. » The Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi and the President of the French Republic Mr Emmanuel Macron at the Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi “Over the last few months, we have been intensely engaging with various signatory countries to ascertain their interest and seek proposals for potential solar projects in their respective countries. As you can see that our initiative has generated an overwhelming positive response. The projects which we will be looking at or taking up in these 15 countries include setting up of solar PV power plants, mini grid and off grid usage, irrigation, rural electrification, street lighting, solar power for urban infrastructure including for health, hospitals, colleges, schools, government establishments, low income families, etc.”
A project preparation facility was announced by the Prime Minister to assist India’s development partners towards preparation of project documentation as consultancy support. The Prime Minister also announced a path breaking initiative relating to solar technology mission. This is in line with Prime Minister’s own initiative for India to take the lead internationally in solar energy development. The focus is on development of solar technology which is appropriate, innovative, and affordable for scaling up commercially and to become genuine alternative to unsustainable energy sources. Consequently, solar technology innovation and development including creation of a solar research and development base is essential. The Solar Technology Mission announced by the Prime Minister envisages a national mission with international focus. The Prime Minister also mooted a 10-point action plan for the world on solar energy. He said, “We are happy that in addition to making the contribution in the ISA Corpus Fund an amount of $62 million has been provided for the establishment of ISA Secretariat. I’m happy to announce that every year we will provide 500 training slots to ISA members in the field of solar energy. We have either completed 13 solar projects worth $143 million dollar in the entire world or they are in the process of being implemented. India is going to provide an assistance of $1.4 billion to 27 more projects in 15 other developing countries. We have set up a projects preparation facility which will provide consultancy support to partner countries for designing bankable projects.”
ADOPTION OF THE DELHI SOLAR AGENDA
The leaders of the founding states of the ISA adopted the Delhi Solar Agenda. The agenda re-emphasizes the determination of the ISA member states to increase the share of solar energy in their respective national energy mix to facilitate affordable financing including innovative financing mechanisms to facilitate joint research and development effort to undertake off grid solar applications for poorer and/or remote communities, to enhance skills, to undertake capacity building, and to strengthen ISA to become an actionoriented and member-driven multilateral organization.
In the speeches of the leaders from France and other countries, the importance of this initiative for combating climate change and the need to ensure access to affordable and innovative solar energy especially for developing countries including for Africa and small island states was underlined. Scaling up of solar technology and production was re-emphasized.
The President of Rwanda, the Chair of African Union eloquently called the ISA a transformative initiative and called for implementing the twin mission of the ISA, namely, technology transfer and innovative financing. He reiterated that Africa stood to benefit from the ISA. As the Governor General of Australia mentioned, “ISA is the gift of India to the world”. President of Togo mentioned that history will remember New Delhi as the place where the ISA was born.
There were a series of technical sessions also where discussions centered around solar priorities, low cost finance, scaling up of off-grid solar energy, women and energy, enhancing energy access in small islands states and on ISA as a catalyst for sustainable development goal (SDG) number 7, by panels of distinguished ministers from many countries, representatives from multilateral development banks (MDBs) and from other experts.
SIGNING OF JOINT DECLARATION BY IRENA AND ISA
On the occasion of the Founding Conference of the ISA, the Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Mr Adnan Z Amin, and the Interim Director General of ISA, Shri Upendra Tripathy signed a Joint Declaration to deepen the cooperation between the two organizations to accelerate solar energy deployment.
“Driven by remarkable cost declines, innovative policies and new business models, solar energy has emerged as the fastest growing renewable energy worldwide. There is an immense opportunity at hand to bring its benefits to more and more countries around the world,” said Mr Amin. “IRENA estimates that solar must account for at least 35 per cent of global power capacity by 2050 to meet the objectives the Paris Agreement on climate,” Mr Amin added. “In this context, IRENA stands ready to work with ISA and its members to scale-up solar energy deployment as a means to expanding affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy access, as well as to addressing climate and energy security concerns. IRENA looks forward to strengthening collaboration with ISA, sharing its knowledge and experience, and making available its project facilitation tools and platforms.”
“The International Solar Alliance has a well-articulated goal to facilitate the mobilization of $1 trillion of capital to rapidly accelerate the adoption of solar energy all over the world,” said Shri Upendra Tripathy. He further said, “While solar is fast becoming one of the most cost-effective ways to generate new power and deliver energy access, to deploy fast enough, complementarity must exist between our work and the broader renewable energy mandate and development tools established by IRENA. This fusion of capabilities will help to catalyse solar development in line with the goals set out under the Paris Agreement.”
Driven by rapid advances in technology and economies of scale, the cost of electricity from solar photovoltaics decreased by almost 70 per cent between 2010 and 2016. IRENA estimates that average cost of electricity from solar photovoltaics can decrease by further 60 per cent in the coming decade. Solar power is also a significant employer of people worldwide, with around 3.1 million jobs working in the sector in 2016. The Joint Declaration affirms the commitment of IRENA and ISA to collaborate on advancing solar deployment and projects through helping countries develop policies and regulations around solar energy and through the implementation of IRENA initiatives such as the Clean Energy Corridors and the SIDS Lighthouses. IRENA’s project facilitation tools and platforms such as the Global Atlas for Renewable Energy, the Project Navigator, and the Sustainable Energy Marketplace will be made available to ISA, in support of its projectfocussed work in countries.
JOINT DECLARATIONS OF FINANCIAL PARTNERSHIPS
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the African Development Bank (AfDb), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Green climate fund (GCF), and the New Development Bank (NDB) signed Joint financial partnership Declarations and the International Energy Agency (IEA) signed Joint partnership Declaration in the presence of Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Minister of Finance and Shri R K Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State (I/C) for Power and New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, with an objective to deepen their cooperation in support of renewable energy. The previous three partnerships were signed by ISA with the World Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. The signing ceremony took place on March 10, 2018 in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. ISA is working for deployment of over 1,000 GW of solar energy and mobilizing more than $1,000 billion into solar energy by the year 2030. From ISA’s side, Shri Upendra Tripathy, the Interim Director General, ISA and on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr Amadou Hott, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth; the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mr Bambang Susantono, Vice-President Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development; the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Dr Joachim Von Amsberg, Vice President – Policy and Strategy; the Green climate fund (GCF), Mr Kilaparti Ramakrishna, Head of Strategic Planning & Director of External Affairs; the New Development Bank (NDB), Mr K V Kamath, President; the International Renewable Energy Agency, Mr Adnan Amin, Director General; the International Energy Agency, Mr Keisuke Sadamori, Director of the Office for Energy Markets and Security, signed the declarations. During the signing ceremony Shri Anand Kumar Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India was also present. H E Shri Upendra Tripathy, the Interim Director General ISA informed that the ISA, AfDB, ADB, AIIB, GCF, and NDB have agreed to strengthen cooperation in pursuit of their shared goals of mobilizing green energy financing. The collaboration will provide an opportunity to AfDB, ADB, AIIB, the GCF, and NDB to support solar energy investment in the least developed countries especially in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific. This will also help funding of solar projects in these regions. He also stated that more such financial partnership deals shall be signed by the ISA in near future to achieve its mandate in a proper and effective manner. Shri Tripathy also underlined that the ISA, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) have agreed to deepen their collaboration to promote solar energy globally. The methodologies, tools, and analysis related to solar technologies developed by both agencies will help design policy environments that will facilitate solar projects in ISA member countries. Shri Arun Jaitley, Hon’ble Minister of Finance, Government of India, congratulated ISA, AfDB, ADB, AIIB, GCF, NDB, IEA, and IRENA for partnering with an objective to deepen cooperation in support of renewable energy. He also hoped that ISA would firm up such partnership deals with more multilateral and bilateral donor agencies in order to meet its stated objectives. He urged the signing parties to go in for innovation of new and dynamic mechanism for credit enhancement and risk mitigation in solar sector. Citing the first financial partnership collaboration of ISA with The World Bank, he urged that more and more multilateral and development banks should come forward and join hands with ISA in help fulfilling the objectives of massive and affordable deployment of solar among 121 ISA member countries. Shri R K Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State for Power and New and Renewable Energy, congratulated as well the signatories for providing wholehearted support to solar energy development and deployment in every possible manner. Recalling that the ISA initiative is the vision of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, he reaffirmed Indian Government’s continued support for the ISA. Shri Kumar also spoke about the Government plans to increase the share of renewable energy in India’s energy mix, especially towards achieving cumulative installed renewable power capacity of 175 GW by 2022.
Compiled by Editorial team, TERI Press. Sources: http://www.pib.nic.in/; http://isolaralliance.org/