In terms of its Framework Agreement, with ratification by Guinea as the 15th country on 6th November 2017, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) will become a treaty–based international intergovernmental organization today. The ISA, headquartered in India, has its Secretariat located in the campus of National Institute of Solar Energy, Gwalpahari, Gurgaon, Haryana.
The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi and the President of France on 30th November 2015 in Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference.
It aims at addressing obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. As of date, 46 countries have signed and 19 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of ISA.
Signatory Countries (46)
Australia, Bangladesh. Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chile, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Equatorial Guiana, Fiji, France, Gabonese Republic, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, India, Kiribati, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Tonga, Togolese Republic, Tuvalu, UAE, Vanuatu, and Venezuela
Ratifying Countries (19)
India, France, Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Cuba, Fiji, Guinea, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Peru, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, and Tuvalu
ISA Interim Secretariat has been operational as a de-facto organization since 25th January, 2016. Three programmes – Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Use, Affordable Finance at Scale, and Scaling Solar Mini–grids – have been launched. These programmes will help in achieving the overall goal of increasing solar energy deployment in the ISA member countries for achieving universal energy access and speeding up economic development. In addition to the existing 3 programmes, ISA has initiated plans to launch two more programmes: Scaling Solar Rooftops and Scaling Solar E–mobility and Storage.
Further, ISA has also been developing a Common Risk Mitigating Mechanism (CRMM) for de-risking and reducing the financial cost of solar projects in the ISA member countries. The instrument will help diversify and pool risks on mutual public resources and unlock significant investments. An international expert group has been working on the blue print of the mechanism and it will be rolled out by December 2018.
Another major initiative is establishment of Digital Infopedia which will serve as a platform to enable policy makers, Ministers and corporate leaders from ISA countries to interact, connect, communicate and collaborate with one another. The interactive platform was operationalized on 18th May 2017. Digital Infopedia will have three heads: (a) Member countries counter for investment opportunities; (b) at least 1000 best practices on solar energy (audio/visual), and (c) Member countries of ISA and the ISA Secretariat audio and visual interaction.
The Paris Declaration establishing ISA states that the countries share the collective ambition to undertake innovative and concerted efforts for reducing the cost of finance and cost of technology for immediate deployment solar generation assets. This will help pave the way for future solar generation, storage and good technologies for each prospective member countries’ individual needs, by effectively mobilizing more than US$1000 billion in investments that will be required by 2030.
India has offered to meet ISA Secretariat expenses for initial five years. In addition, the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India has set aside US$2 billion for solar projects in Africa out of Government of India’s US$10 billion concessional Line of Credit (LOC) for Africa. Government of France has also earmarked Euro 300 million soft loan for solar related projects in ISA member countries.