The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval for entering into Headquarters (Host country) Agreement between India and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and authorizing the Ministry of External Affairs for signing the Headquarter Agreement. The Agreement was signed on 26th March 2018.
The Headquarters Agreement will institutionalize the functional arrangements between India and ISA.
It will help in the smooth transition of ISA as an international inter-governmental organization. Creation of ISA will lead to accelerated solar technology development and deployment in ISA member countries including India.
The Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries. The ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India.
The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.
As an action-oriented organisation, the ISA brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale, and promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity building.
When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty-based International Intergovernmental Organization, headquartered in Gurugram, India.
The significance of ISA:
There is no specific body in place to address the specific solar technology deployment needs of the solar resource-rich countries located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Most of these countries are geographically located for optimal absorption of the sun’s rays. There is a great amount of sunlight year-round which can lead to cost-effective solar power and other end uses with high insolation of almost 300 sunny days in a year. Most of the countries have large agrarian populations.
Many countries face gaps in the potential solar energy manufacturing eco-system. An absence of universal energy access, energy equity and affordability are issues common to most of the solar resource-rich countries. International Solar Alliance (ISA) is conceived as a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.
The ISA is not only expected to spur innovation in the RE space but also help make India a technological hub with independent manufacturing capabilities of RE equipment like solar panels, rather than being dependent on imports, through initiatives like ‘Make in India’. India’s Ministry of External Affairs is expected to play a role in “marrying Indian tech and finance capabilities with specific projects around the world”.
India announced a goal of obtaining 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030 at the Paris climate change summit. It is close to achieving 20 GW grid-connected solar power generation capacity this fiscal year (2018), in pursuit of achieving its target of 100 GW by 2022.