International Solar Alliance – UPSC GS3

What is ISA?
  • The ISA was launched at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande
  • It seeks to empower solar-rich countries located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity
  • Originally member countries are to be those that enjoy 300 or more days in a year of bright sunlight. But now membership is thrown open to all countries that want to join the grouping. There will be no restrictions on duration of sunlight or geographical location.
  • Over 20 countries, including India, Brazil and France have signed the framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance (ISA)
  • It is the first treaty-based international intergovernmental organisation to be based out of India.
What are objectives of ISA?
  • Boost global demands which will result in further reduction in prices of solar energy deployment.
  • Boost R&D, particularly in areas of efficient storage systems.
  • Promote standardisation in the use of equipments and processes for generating electricity.
  • Standardisation will make the manufacturing of equipments and other hardware cheaper
What is purpose of ISA?
  • More than 120 countries are geographically located in the tropics i.e. between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, either fully or partially.
  • These places get ample sunlight throughout the year, making solar energy easily available resources.
  • These countries also happen to be ones where maximum growth in energy demand in the coming years, but their current production is woefully short of requirement.
  • Thus, the ISA will ensure that as these countries rapidly ramp up their electricity production, predominantly by using clean solar energy and avoid fossil fuels.
  • It is also an attempt to accelerate the global demand for solar energy and gives India an opportunity to take global leadership in the fight against climate change
  • The ISA, also sees itself as on a mission to mobilise more than $1000 billion in investments needed by 2030 for “massive deployment” of solar energy, pave the way for future technologies adapted to the needs of moving to a fossil-free future and keep global temperatures from rising above 2C by the end of the century.
  • India has committed itself to having 175,000 MW of renewed energy in the grid by 2022.
Projects/Initiatives under ISA:
  • India and France have launched a programme with $1 trillion Potential Solar Programme under the International Solar Alliance (ISA). It is a solar finance programme that aims at helping developing countries to fully harness their solar resources for a clean energy future.  The solar finance programme aims at lowering the cost of finance and facilitates the flow of more than 1 trillion dollars investment to members of the ISA
  • World Bank’s agreement to support Indian initiatives for expanded solar generation
    • The $625-million grid-connected rooftop solar fund could help strengthen State-level programmes for net metering
India’s Contribution:
  • As part of the agreement, India will contribute $27 million (Rs.5 crore approx) to the ISA for creating corpus, building infrastructure and recurring expenditure over five years from 2016-17 to 2020-21.
  • In addition, public sector undertakings of the Government of India, Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), have made a contribution of $1 million (Rs.5 crore) each for creating the ISA corpus fund.

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