International Solar Alliance Founding Conference 2018
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron co-hosted the first
edition of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Summit at Rashtrapati Bhavan in March 2018,
the spotlight was on India which is being viewed as a key player in tapping solar energy.
PM Modi has presented a 10-point action plan to make affordable solar technology available
to all nations, which included raising the share of electricity generated from photovoltaic
cells in the energy mix, framing of regulations and standards and consultancy support for
bankable solar projects.
The prime minister also pledged to generate 175 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in India from
renewable energy sources by 2022 while the French President said that France will extend an
extra 700 million euros ($861.5 million) through loans and donations by 2022 for solar projects
in emerging economies.
The solar alliance, which aims at promoting solar energy and reduction in the use of fossil
fuels in energy-rich countries, was launched in November 2015 at the Paris climate summit by
PM Modi and former French President Francois Hollande.
"We should not forget that we only have one planet and we are sharing it and for that there
are no alternatives. There is a joint destiny which means we also have some joint duties,"
President Macron said.
Solar energy generation is an expensive business and emerging markets find it difficult to fund
the projects. To achieve the ISA target of over 1,000 GW of solar generation capacity and
mobilisation of investment of over $1 trillion by 2030, PM Modi called for concessional
financing and less-risky funds for such projects. A joint declaration signed in Delhi between
the ISA and major funding agencies, means the issue of support has been reduced to a great extent.
The summit focused on various aspects of promoting solar energy, such as credit mechanism,
crowd-funding and sharing of technological breakthroughs. Out of 121 prospective member
countries 60 have signed the treaty and about 30 nations have ratified it. Twenty three
heads of state, senior representatives of many countries, and ministries are participating
in the summit, where various projects, including rural electrification, off grid solar power
will be discussed.
In January, India crossed a little over 20 GW solar energy capacity, according to clean energy
market tracker Mercom India; China's generating capacity is 130 gw. Sixty per cent of India's
installed capacity comes from coal, while actual generation of electricity is 75 per cent.
Renewables contribute 18 per cent. The rest comes from nuclear, biomass and other sources.
The renewable energy sector in India is taking fast strides and the World Bank has promised its