India, France re-elected as president, co-president of International Solar Alliance

New Delhi (NVI): India and France were re-elected as the president and co-president of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for a term of two years at the virtual meeting of the Third Assembly.

The event was attended by 34 ISA Members ministers. A total of 53 member countries and 5 signatory and prospective member countries participated in the Assembly.

In addition to this, four new vice-presidents were also chosen to represent the four regions of ISA, according to a statement by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy

The representatives of Fiji & Nauru for Asia Pacific Region; Mauritius & Niger for Africa Region; UK & Netherlands for Europe and others Region, and Cuba and Guyana for Latin America and Caribbean Region assumed the vice presidency, the statement added.

The ISA is an initiative that was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on November 30, 2015, in Paris, France, on the side-lines of the COP-21. The overarching objective of the ISA is to collectively address key common challenges to the scaling up of solar energy in ISA member countries.

For the first time since the inception of the framework agreement of ISA, Solar awards were conferred on countries of the region as well as institutions working for solar. The Assembly witnessed the conferment of the Visvesvaraya award which recognizes the countries with maximum floating solar capacity in each of the four regions of ISA. The awards went to Japan for the Asia Pacific region and the Netherlands for Europe and other regions.

The Assembly also approved the initiatives of the ISA Secretariat in institutionalizing ISA’s engagement with the private and public corporate sector through the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA). Ten public sector organisations in India presented a cheque for 1 million USD each at the assembly.

Speaking in the plenary, the President of the ISA assembly, India’s Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister, RK Singh, appreciated the Alliance Members coming together to work for combating climate change. He welcomed the seventh initiative on heating and cooling to be introduced for discussion in the Third Assembly.

Singh said that Solar Energy has come a long way in last 5 years and is now the fastest growing energy source globally. He said, “Solar energy is already contributing around 2.8% of global electricity ,and if trends were to continue, by 2030, solar will become most important source of energy for electricity production in large part of the world.”

President ISA also mentioned about various activities and programmes initiated by ISA since the 2nd Assembly. He said that six programmes and two projects are now underway covering various aspects of solar energy. A robust pipeline of more than USD five billion has been developed for solar energy applications to meet the lighting, irrigation, drinking water and productive energy requirement of the ISA member countries, which have so far been largely deprived of modern energy services.

The Co-President of the Assembly, Barbara Pompili, France’s Minister for Ecological Transition underlined that ISA played an essential role to help redirect funding towards renewable energies, particularly in developing countries, and take up the challenge of an energy at the service of all.

She reiterated France’s involvement: pointing out that of the 1.5 billion euros of financing France committed for solar projects in ISA member states up until 2022, 1.15 billion € has been committed to concrete projects.

France has also supported the collaboration with the World Bank to mobilise financing: a facility “Sustainable Renewables Risk Mitigation Initiative” (SRMI) should help mobilize 18 billion € in private investment to finance more than 10 gigawatts of solar projects, and a first project is being launched in Mozambique with the support of France and the European Union.

She further announced that, in the frame of the ISA Star-C programme, the French National Institute for Solar Energy (INES) will very soon launch a specific program for the small island states of the Pacific.

Furthermore, in the wake of the global pandemic, ISA responded by setting up ISA CARES, an initiative dedicated to deployment of solar energy in healthcare sector in LDC/SIDS ISA Member countries.

The initiative aims to solarize one primary health sector in each district of the target Member countries. Australia has provided AUD 92,000 for the ISA CARES initiative in the Pacific to provide ongoing reliable solar energy for health centres in the Pacific, helping remote island communities reduce reliance on costly and uncertain diesel fuel imports.