Ram Nivas Kumar.
New Delhi, 16 November :International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an initiative proposed by our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi Ji and was launched by him at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 along with the President of France. Now ISA has assumed centre-stage for India’ attempts at a global climate leadership role. India has also put forward the concept of “One Sun One World One Grid” and “World Solar Bank” to harness abundant solar power on global scale.
International Solar Alliance has achieved remarkable progress since its launch and more than 100 countries have become signatory and part of this alliance. US is the latest and 101st country to become the part of the framework agreement of ISA. While signing the framework agreement, John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, said “It has long been coming, and we are happy to join the International Solar Alliance, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the lead in making. We worked out the details and this is a process we are pleased to be a part of.”
ISA will be at forefront to battle the climate change
During the launch of ISA, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi said, “As Rig Veda says, Sun God is the Soul of all beings, moving and non-moving. Many in India begin their day with a prayer to the Sun. Today, when the energy sources and excesses of our industrial age have put our planet in peril, the world must turn to Sun to power our future”. It is an alliance of the “sunshine countries” i.e., the countries lying in between the two tropics – Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn with an objective of efficient utilization of solar energy. The alliance was formed with the intent to reduce the dependence on non-renewable sources of energy like fossil fuels. Modi referred to the sun-rich countries as “Suryaputras” and spoke about the huge potential of these countries to make use of the abundant natural resource, solar energy.
The energy that comes from the Sun in a day is enough for the entire globe to use for a whole year, however, we are not able to capture the entire energy that comes. Most of the sunshine countries are poor and the least developing hence, solar power becomes critical for energy security.
International Solar Alliance, headquartered in India is conceived as a coalition of solar-resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs. ISA provides a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar-resource-rich countries, through which the global community, including governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can contribute to help achieve the common goal of increasing the use and quality of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.
The underlying rationale for ISA is to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. By 2030, it envisages enhancing international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology. Developing solar projects in silos is not financially viable, despite the involvement of prominent financial institutions such as AIIB, World Bank, NDB and private and public investments towards this. Further, there was no proper ecosystem that creates a willingness to buy and set up renewable energy; there is no proper integration method with conventional energy. With the formation of International Solar Alliance, the world is expecting more R&D, Inventions, investments and affordability in the solar power.
Achieving and raising target at home
At home, India has allotted 5 acres of land to the ISA in National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) campus, Gurugram and has released a sum of Rs. 160 crore for creating a corpus fund, building infrastructure and meeting day to day recurring expenditure of the ISA up to the year 2021-22. NISE is an autonomous institution of the Ministry of New and Renewable (MNRE) and is the apex National R&D institution in the field of Solar Energy.
India, under the visionary leadership of Shri Narendra Modi has launched an ambitious National Solar Mission (a part of National Action Plan on Climate Change) to establish India as a global leader in solar energy, by creating the policy conditions for its diffusion across the country as quickly as possible.
India has set a target to achieve about 40% cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources and to reduce the emission intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35% from 2005 level by 2030. In line with the target, Indian Govt. has launched several ambitious schemes such as Solar Park Scheme, Canal bank & Canal top Scheme, Bundling Scheme, Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Scheme, etc.
Solar power in India is a fast-developing industry as part of its impetus to focus the growth of renewable energy and gradually shift from coal sector. The country’s solar installed capacity was 47.7 GW as of 31 October 2021. Initially, the Indian Govt. had an initial target of 20 GW capacity for 2022, which was achieved four years ahead of schedule. The target was revised and raised to 100 GW of solar capacity (including 40 GW from rooftop solar) by 2022, targeting an investment of US$100 billion. India has established nearly 42 solar parks to make land available to the promoters of solar plants. Indian Govt. had stated that a further 36.03 GW of solar projects are under various stages of implementation and 23.87 GW are in the tendering process so target of 100 GW is set to be breached.
Recently, PSUs signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Union Territory of Ladakh to set up the country’s first Green Hydrogen Mobility project. Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of water using renewable energy (like Solar, Wind) and has a lower carbon footprint.
Echoing the words of UK PM, “there is one sun, there is one world, there is one Grid and there is one Narendra Modi. One man who has achieved absolutely extraordinary things for his country”. Not only country, but for the world. With the enormous success of ISA at global map, world must thank India and Shri Narendra Modi for the important contribution to the more rapid deployment of solar globally as this is particularly important for developing countries.
Writer is a Social Entrepreneur.