One of the bigger initiatives of Prime Minister Modi and the government of India in the area of renewables has been the establishment of the ISA, or International Solar Alliance.
The International Solar Alliance has had a relatively low profile, since it was announced, and launched at the Paris Climate summit in 2015. All that could be set for change now, as things finally pick up speed here.
The entity moved at typical international speed to become a legal entity in December 2017, following ratification by 15 member countries. It currently has 121 member countries.
Launched primarily to bring together countries between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of Capricorn, or countries that enjoy significant to high solar energy potential, or ‘sunshine rich’ in plain speak.
Thus, the alliance hopes to use the strength of numbers to ensure better diffusion of learnings, drive down prices by launching coordinated global tenders for member countries requirements and more. Support from the World Bank, the EC and more has been sought for establishing Solar Research centres to explore better application of solar and areas like financing, deemed critical for solar energy projects.
Besides a common platform for member countries, an overwhelming majority of whom are from developing regions, it is believed the ISA is also meant to act as a safeguard to build a united front against pressure to comply with other climate change goals if required, by demonstrating real commitment as well as a desire to drive change on their own terms.
You are likely to hear a lot more about the ISA here in India, and not just because India is a founding member. The headquarters of the organisation are also in India, at Gurugram, and next month the ISA will host the first of many significant events to get moving to real action.
Upendra Tripathy, a career bureaucrat and former secretary at the Ministry of Renewable Energy is the first interim secretary general of the Alliance. He faces the onerous task of setting in place the process to meet the headline goal of the alliance, to collect $1Trillion (yes, you read that right, $1000 billion ) to give wins to the ISA’s goals.