International Solar Alliance, Explained!

The International Solar Alliance (ISA ) is a joint effort by India and France in the direction to mobilize solar energy and fight climate change. It is a collaborative platform that enables easy access to solar energy technologies, helping them transition to solar energy generation. 

There are 110 signatories to the ISA, of which 90 countries have ratified the agreement. All members of the UN are eligible to join the International Solar Alliance. The UNGA has also granted observer status to the ISA. 

international solar alliance
Courtesy: Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

OBJECTIVES

The ISA aims at employing cost-effective solar energy technologies to help nations transition to renewable energy. It focuses on reducing carbon emissions, particularly in the least developed counties (LDCs) and the small island developing states (SIDS). 

PRIORITY AREAS

In order to create a conducive environment for the development of solar energy the ISA aims to focus on: 

  • Analytics and Advocacy
  • Capacity Building 
  • Programmatic Support
  • Readiness and enabling activities

ROLES OF THE SECRETARIAT

The secretariat of the ISA is in Gurugram, India. It has the following responsibilities: 

  • Assisting National Focal Points in preparing program proposals and recommendations that are submitted to the assembly. 
  • Providing guidance to member nations in setting up projects, including assistance in raising funds. 

Read more: International Solar Alliance | Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India

IMPORTANT PROJECTS 

ONE SUN ONE WORLD ONE GRID (OSOWOG)

  • Aims at building a global system of interconnected renewable energy sources. 
  • Focuses on the vision that “the sun never sets” and aims to attain maximum benefits by enabling cost-effective solar energy technology at a global level. 
  • It has also been taken up under the technical assistance program of the World Bank. 

ISA SOLAR TECHNOLOGY AND APPLICATION RESOURCE CENTRE (ISTARC)

  • Enabling collaborative research and development along with suitable training programs for member nations facilitation technical assistance and dissemination of information. 

INDIAN TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC COOPERATION (ITEC) SCHEME

  • The GOI is supporting the ISA by providing a 21-day training program in the field of solar energy at the National Institute of Solar Energy, funded by the government itself. 

NATIONAL SOLAR MISSION

  • It is one of the missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change, that has helped establish India as a global leader in the solar energy sector with the rapid spread of solar technology across the country. 

Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC)

  • India’s Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) target is to achieve about 40% of cumulative installed capacity from fossil fuel alternatives and reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 35% from the 2005 level by the end of the decade. 

Read more: International Solar Alliance approves funding facility – The Hindu 

CONCERNS 

The absence of an economic plan and access to necessary technology and funding are major hurdles in the way of the ISA. Investment in research and development and a suitable economic policy in place should be prompted. 

Two recent financial components that were introduced – a Solar Payment Guarantee Fund and Solar Insurance Fund, are a step in the right direction. These two components are a part of the Solar Facility that was recently approved in the UNGA. This will help attract private capital, especially in “underserved markets” in Africa. 

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