Big weekend: What will happen at the International Solar Alliance Summit?

The ISA is an inter-governmental body, headquartered in India. It has also been registered (No. 54949) under the United Nations (UN), under article 102 of the UN charter, with effect from February 9, 2018.

The alliance was launched jointly by the Indian Prime Minister and the French President during COP21, held in December 2015 in Paris, France. It aims to contribute to the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement via rapid and massive deployment of solar energy. ISA also contributes to the 12 commitments of the One Planet Summit.

ISA has organized and participated in several important events across the world, since its establishment. However, since its legal formation on December 6, 2017, the body has had trouble organizing a date for the founding ceremony, where all the key dignitaries could attend.

However, a date has finally been set: March 11, 2018. French President, Emmanuel Macron, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres will be in attendance. Other major representatives and dignitaries of ISA member countries will also be present at the event.

According to the alliance, the first 15 countries which ratified the ISA framework agreement will become the founding members of the ISA and thus hold special responsibilities. They are: Bangladesh, Comoros, Fiji, France, Ghana, Guinea, India, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, and Tuvalu.

What will happen at the 2018 ISA summit?

More than 20 Heads of State and Government, and representatives of international organizations, development banks, the private sector and civil society are meeting to speed up the implementation of the alliance, and achieve concrete results in terms of access to energy and combating global warming.

  1. General mobilization of government, international and private actors
  • Mobilization of ISA member countries to implement the alliance.
  • Commitments from international organizations.
  • Mobilization of the private sector with the creation of a committee of businesses.
  1. Promotion of solar energy research and innovation
  • Creation of a network of Solar Resource centers in the 121 countries of the ISA region, under Solar Technology Applications & Resource Centre (STAR-C).
  • Establishment of training programs intended to benefit all actors of this sector, including 10,000 young technicians to be trained in five years.
  • Development of partnerships fostering technology transfer and innovation.
  • Launching of Solar Awards & Fellowships.
  1. Implementation of concrete instruments
  • Fostering knowledge transfer and information through the launch of a collaborative “Infopedia” online platform.
  • Publication of a practical guide to ensure high-quality standards.
  • Publishing online of standard documents to facilitate the purchasing of electricity in public tenders and supply processes.
  • Establishment of STAR-C.
  1. Financing of new solar energy projects
  • Financial commitments by public and private stakeholders.
  • Support for 121 initial projects.
  • Creation of a common guarantee mechanism.
  • Development of a “single window” platform to bring together project developers and investors.

What has happened since COP21?

  1. Sixty Countries have joined the alliance, which obtained the status of an international organization on December 6, 2017.
  2. Five programs of action have been launched on rural and decentralized applications, finance, mini-grids, rooftop installations and solar e-mobility.
    The ISA’s five solar programs of action.
  3. Six meetings of the ISA international Steering Committee have been held, co-chaired by France and India.
  4. Forums to bring together private sector provision, finance and solar energy demand have been organized in Paris and New Delhi.
  5. One hundred projects for solar applications have been identified by 34 ISA member countries.
  6. A common financial guarantee mechanism is being established to foster affordable access to finance.
  7. ‘Action to Transaction’ meets to bring Stakeholders together.

Why was ISA formed?

ISA aims to bring together the 121 sun-rich states located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to provide a collective response to the most common obstacles to the massive deployment of solar energy, in terms of technology, finance and capacity. The aim is to raise the trillion dollars needed to develop one terawatt of solar energy capacity by 2030.

The countries located between the two tropics are, for the great majority, developing ones. Twenty to 50% of their populations do not have access to electricity. They also represent: 73% of the global population; 36% of world GDP; 55% of total energy consumption worldwide; and only 23% of installed solar capacity.

Around 60 countries, which have joined the ISA, represent a combined potential to develop 138 GW of solar capacity in the next five years, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). As of March 1, out of the 60 countries, 26 have ratified the ISA framework agreement.

Solar energy has an important role to play in ensuring a sustainable energy future and displays an enormous potential: In 90 minutes, the solar energy striking the Earth would be sufficient to provide the entire planet’s energy needs for one year.

The costs of solar PV modules have fallen by around 80% since the end of 2009, making it one of the cheapest sources for electricity generation, especially in countries between the tropics.

Thanks to cost decreases and technology improvement, PV is currently the fastest-growing source of electricity globally. Worldwide solar capacity rose, for the first time, faster than any other source of electricity in 2016: 74 GW of new capacity was built, reaching almost 300 GW in cumulative capacity.

Additionally, ISA is also organizing its second National Focal Point Conclave from March 10 – 18, 2018 in New Delhi, India. The main objective of the conclave is to develop roadmaps for Solar Energy Programs of individual ISA member countries. Earlier, the first NFP Conclave was held in December 2017 in New Delhi.