India, France re-elected as president, co-president of solar alliance

New Delhi, Oct 14 (PTI): India and France were re-elected as president and co-president of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for a term of two years at its third assembly on Wednesday, an official statement said.

The Third Assembly of the ISA was attended by 34 members’ ministers. As many as 53 member countries and five signatory and prospective member countries participated in the assembly, the ministry of new and renewable energy said.

India and France were re-elected as the president and co- president of the ISA for a term of two years at the virtual meeting of the third ISA assembly.

Four new vice-presidents were also chosen to represent the four regions of the ISA.

The representatives of Fiji and Nauru for Asia Pacific Region; Mauritius and Niger for Africa Region; UK and the Netherlands for Europe and Others Region; and Cuba and Guyana for Latin America and Caribbean Region assumed the vice presidency.

The assembly also approved the initiatives of the ISA Secretariat in institutionalising ISA’s engagement with the private and public corporate sector through the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA), it said.

Ten public sector organisations in India presented a cheque for USD 1 million each at the assembly.

Speaking in the plenary, the President of the ISA assembly and India’s Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister R K Singh said solar energy has come a long way in the last five years and is now the fastest growing energy source globally.

“Solar energy is already contributing around 2.8 per cent of global electricity, and if trends were to continue, by 2030, solar will become most important source of energy for electricity production in large part of the world,” he added.

He said six programmes and two projects are now underway covering various aspects of solar energy.

A robust pipeline of more than USD 5 billion has been developed for solar energy applications to meet lighting, irrigation, drinking water and productive energy requirements of the ISA member countries, which have so far been largely deprived of modern energy services.

The ISA has aggregated a demand for more than 270,000 solar pumps across 22 countries, more than 1 GW of solar rooftop across 11 countries, and more than 10 GW of solar mini-grids across nine countries under its respective programmes.

The Co-President of the Assembly Barbara Pompili, France’s Minister for Ecological Transition, reiterated France’s involvement — pointing out that of the 1.5 billion euros of financing the country has committed for solar projects in ISA member states up until 2022, 1.15 billion euros has been committed to concrete projects.

France has also supported the collaboration with the World Bank to mobilise financing. A facility ‘Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative’ (SRMI) should help mobilize 18 billion euros in private investment to finance more than 10 gigawatts of solar projects. The first project is being launched in Mozambique with the support of France and the European Union.

She further announced that under the framework of the ISA Star-C programme, the French National Institute for Solar Energy (INES) will very soon launch a specific program for the small island states of the Pacific.

The ISA assembly was also presented with the report prepared by the World Resources Institute (WRI).

The report identifies the sources of funds, opportunities and constraints, in scaling up solar investments and the contribution of ISA in assisting member countries.

The assembly welcomed the move of the ISA to work with WRI to develop a roadmap for mobilisation of USD 1 trillion by 2030.

The Kingdom of the Netherlands, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bloomberg New Energy Finance and Climate Works Foundation providing the required financial and technical assistance for preparation of the roadmap.

The roadmap will also analyse the potential for mobilising further investments in solar energy going beyond solar power projects to solar energy applications in transportation and cooling and heating and for implementing the vision of ‘One Sun, One World, One Grid’.

In the wake of the global pandemic, ISA responded by setting up ISA CARES, an initiative dedicated to deployment of solar energy in the healthcare sector. The initiative aims to solarise one primary health sector in each district of target member countries.

Australia has provided AUD 92,000 for the ISA CARES initiative in the Pacific to provide ongoing reliable solar energy for health centres in the region, helping remote island communities reduce reliance on costly and uncertain diesel fuel imports.

Other initiatives presented to the assembly were the demand aggregation initiative for 47 million solar home systems and 250 million LED lamps in ISA member countries launched in August 2020.

The membership of the ISA has continued to grow since the Second Assembly in 2019. The ISA is now supported by 68 member countries, and a further 20 countries are in the process of becoming members.

The ISA is an initiative that was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on November 30, 2015 in Paris on the side-lines of the COP-21.

The overarching objective of the ISA is to collectively address key common challenges to the scaling up of solar energy in ISA member countries.