International Solar Alliance: raising more than a trillion dollars for photovoltaic energy

Alliance solaire internationale

14 May International Solar Alliance: raising more than a trillion dollars for photovoltaic energy

COP President Ségolène Royal and Indian Minister of State for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy Piyush Goyal brought together a leading group of International Solar Alliance member countries during the signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement at United Nations Headquarters in New York on 22 April 2016.

What is the International Solar Alliance?

The implementation of the Paris Agreement requires the deployment of solar energy on a completely unprecedented scale. The International Solar Alliance is an initiative launched jointly by the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, and the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, on 30 November 2015 on the sidelines of COP21, so as to enable this “scaling-up” of the deployment of solar energy in sunny countries situated between the tropics.

The project addresses a simple fact: countries with high solar potential currently represent only a small share of global solar energy production. The International Solar Alliance seeks to harmonize and integrate demand for funding, technology and innovation across several countries, so as to revolutionize the future of solar energy in these countries and beyond.

In India, a similar method, applied to demand for efficient LED light bulbs, has helped cut the cost of these bulbs by 83% in 24 months while improving their reliability.

Within the Alliance, strong, concerted political impetus can create a “common market” which will help bring down costs, enhance quality control, better adapt products to needs, invent new products and uses for them – and effectively implement the countries’ national contributions under the Paris Agreement.

On 19 May 2015, the French President contributed his support for the Indian Prime Minister’s proposal to establish an alliance of the countries with the greatest solar potential. India has a national goal of installing 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 (compared to 3 MW currently), and has a population of 1.3 billion, 350 million of whom do not have access to electricity. India alone thus represents a considerable share of global demand.

On 30 November 2015, more than 35 national leaders endorsed the Paris Declaration on the International Solar Alliance promoted by the Indian Prime Minister and the French President.

High-level meeting

In New York on 22 April 2016, the Ministers and high representatives of 19 countries (Australia, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Djibouti, Ethiopia, France, India, Maldives, Mali, Namibia, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Uganda and Zambia) endorsed the roadmap put forward jointly by France and India to step up the massive deployment of solar energy on various scales in their respective countries.

The International Solar Alliance will bring together countries on a voluntary basis, through targeted programmes promoted directly at political level to ensure rapid, effective implementation.

An initial group of countries joined the first two programmes launched at the instigation of COP President Ségolène Royal and Indian Minister Piyush Goyal:

– the “Affordable finance at scale” programme seeks to raise more than $1 trillion of investment in photovoltaic energy by 2030, or earlier if possible, through the creation of appropriate tools and policies and structured dialogue with the private sector in particular through the Terrawatt initiative. Ségolène Royal welcomed this programme, which she considers a major step forward towards effective implementation of the Paris Agreement.

– the “Scaling solar applications for agricultural use” programme aims to make reliable solar applications suited to the needs of farmers affordable. This programme will facilitate, for example, the deployment of solutions such as irrigation pumps and milk chillers, which “will go a long way in improving yields and delivering better economic returns”, according to Mr Goyal. “Synchronization and harmonization of tenders at the scale of the Alliance will bring higher quality to all”, said COP President Ségolène Royal.

Read press releases here, here and here.