25 Jan Laying the foundation stone at the future headquarters of the International Solar Alliance
On the second day of his official visit to India, the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone at the future headquarters of the International Solar Alliance in Gurgaon, in the suburbs of New Delhi.
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What is the International Solar Alliance?
On his visit to France in April 2015, Narendra Modi stated that he wanted to build an alliance of countries wishing to cooperate in the field of solar energy. The project was created based on two facts: solar energy is the most plentiful source of renewable energies in the Southern countries, which have on average over 300 days of sunshine per year, but technologies and financing in these areas remain insufficient. This is why the Indian government wanted to put in place a platform for financing and technological collaboration for developed countries with these technologies and developing countries wishing to increase their potential in this sector.
On 19 May 2015, the President of the French Republic, François Hollande, declared France’s support for the project. The International Solar Alliance was officially launched on the first day of COP21, 30 November 2015, by François Hollande and Narendra Modi, in the presence of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and several Heads of State. Recalling that despite the abundant sunshine in these countries, much of their inhabitants have no electricity, the Indian Prime Minister explained that the aim of the Alliance “is to make solar energy an integral part of our life and reach it to the most unconnected villages and communities”. “We can no longer accept this paradox whereby the countries with the greatest solar energy potential only account for a small part of the world’s solar energy production,” declared the French President.
The Alliance is expected to take the form of an intergovernmental agency – the International Agency for Solar Technologies and Applications – and will use the mass effect to bring down the costs of solar equipment and attract investment. It has been estimated that an investment of about US$100 billion per year will be required to implement these projects, as the Indian Prime Minister recalled at the presentation of the programme at the last G20 meeting in Antalya, Turkey, on 15-16 November 2015. In total, 121 countries have chosen to join the Alliance.
Leading the way
India wants to lead the way with a target of 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022, compared to four today. New Delhi has pledged to reduce its carbon intensity by 35% by 2030 and to generate 40% of its electricity from renewable energies in the same timeframe. Meanwhile, François Hollande has announced that the French Development Agency will allocate €300 million to solar energy over five years.
Renewable energies are one of the most obvious ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting global warming. This is the main target of the Paris Agreement.