Our directory of things of interest

University Directory

International solar alliance: turning on the lights

The roof of a ‘solar kitchen’ in Auroville, India The roof of a ‘solar kitchen’ in Auroville, India Marco Saroldi
28 Apr
2018
More than two years after first being announced, the International Solar Alliance has finally held a conference

‘The sun is the source of all energy. The world must turn to solar, the power of our future.’ These optimistic words were spoken in 2015 by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during COP21 in Paris. India had just signed an agreement with then-French President François Hollande for the two countries to lead a new initiative known as the ‘International Solar Alliance’ (ISA). But what became of this bold initiative?

In March this year, the alliance finally met in New Delhi for its founding conference, some 27 months after first being formed. The heads of 23 nations and ten ministerial representatives were in attendance. At the conference, President Macron was keen to emphasise the potential significance of bringing together so many countries in this way, pointing out that the ISA should cover 75 per cent of the global population, but also acknowledged the multiple regulatory challenges that need to be overcome in the process. ‘It is not enough to look at what governments are doing,’ he said. ‘We need a new international deal with the private sector, the international public sector and the civil society as well. It is common good, and it is for the development of all countries.’

modi macronNarendra Modi and Emmanuel Macron (Image: Frederic Legrand - COMEO)

As the hosts for the ground-breaking COP21 Paris summit, France has taken an active role in both the organising and the financing of the ISA from the very start. Guest of honour at the inaugural conference was current French president Emmanuel Macron, who used the occasion to pledge a tripling of France’s original financial commitments with an additional €700million, bringing its total pledge to around €1billion. Major development banks have also pledged funds, such as the Asian Development Bank’s $3billion per year by 2020, to add to the partnerships already entered into with the European Investment Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The goal of the ISA is to boost solar energy in developing countries, particularly those ‘solar resource-rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn’. As well as encouraging cooperation and sharing of best practice between these countries, the ISA’s purpose is to raise funds, specifically the astonishing $1trillion it claimed was required by 2030 in order to undertake the mass deployment of solar technology required to generate as much as 1TW (1,000GW) of electricity, thereby meeting the aspirational goals of the Paris Agreement.

In the shorter term, goals include creating investment opportunities, assisting members in drafting policies to encourage the adoption of solar energy, and striving for universal access to solar-powered lighting.

In theory, the alliance covers 121 countries whose national territories cross into the tropics. The ISA treaty became open for members to join after COP22 in Morocco in 2016, with first-day signings including India, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dominican Republic, the Republic of Guinea, Mali, Nauru, Niger, Tanzania, Tuvalu, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Bangladesh and Madagascar.

To date, there are 61 signatories, with 33 countries having since fully ratified the agreement.

India has hopes of being a global leader in solar power, and ever since the alliance was announced, renewable capacity in the country has leapt from 39GW to 62GW. Climate Action Tracker forecasts an additional 154 to 267GW of solar and wind power to be installed in the country by 2030, which would make India compatible with the 2ºC threshold assigned by the Paris Agreement.’

This was published in the May 2018 edition of Geographical magazine

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Get the best of Geographical delivered straight to your inbox by signing up to our weekly newsletter and get a free collection of eBooks!

geo line break v3

Related items

Subscribe to Geographical!

geo line break v3

Free eBooks - Geographical Newsletter

Sign up for our weekly newsletter today and get a FREE eBook collection!

geo line break v3

University of Winchester

geo line break v3

EDUCATION PARTNERS

Aberystwyth University University of Greenwich The University of Derby

TRAVEL PARTNERS

Ponant

Silversea

Travel the Unknown

DOSSIERS

Like longer reads? Try our in-depth dossiers that provide a comprehensive view of each topic

  • Natural Capital: Putting a price on nature
    Natural capital is a way to quantify the value of the world that nature provides for us – the air, soils, water, even recreational activity. Advocat...
    The human game – tackling football’s ‘slave trade’
    Few would argue with football’s position as the world’s number one sport. But as Mark Rowe discovers, this global popularity is masking a sinister...
    Essential oil?
    Palm oil is omnipresent in global consumption. But in many circles it is considered the scourge of the natural world, for the deforestation and habita...
    National Clean Air Day
    For National Clean Air Day, Geographical brings together stories about air pollution and the kind of solutions needed to tackle it ...
    Alien views
    The tabloids would have us believe that immigrants are taking our houses, our jobs, our school places and our hospital beds. But a close reading of th...

MORE DOSSIERS

NEVER MISS A STORY - Follow Geographical on Social

Want to stay up to date with breaking Geographical stories? Join the thousands following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and stay informed about the world.

More articles in NATURE...

Wildlife

Bonnethead sharks, the second smallest member of the hammerhead family,…

Nature

There’s more than enough plastic in the world. That’s why,…

Wildlife

The recent discovery of more than 200 million termite mounds…

Geophoto

The new year still remains a popular time to set…

Wildlife

After decades battling environmental crises that threaten to rob the…

Climate

As another new year beckons and the fight to protect…

Geophoto

A half century has passed since the ‘Earthrise’ photograph – widely believed to have…

Wildlife

Are howler monkeys being adversely affected by ingestion of pesticides containing…

Tectonics

Why unprepared tourists are putting themselves at risk in order…

Geophoto

The majestic and mighty polar bear is in danger of…

Wildlife

Exciting news for wildlife and photography enthusiasts alike – the…

Wildlife

A new system of robotic aerial vehicles is revolutionising the…

Wildlife

Technology used in creating safe urban environments is now being…

Climate

Brazil’s shift to the right of the political spectrum could…

Wildlife

Laura Cole travels to Orkney to find out why numbers…

Wildlife

The unprecedented frequency of winter tick epidemics have resulted in…

Oceans

Ocean debris, mostly composed of plastic, reaches remote Atlantic islands…

Geophoto

With motion detectors becoming ever more sophisticated, and clearer, crisper…

Nature

Natural capital is a way to quantify the value of…

Tectonics

The reason for the unusual location of Mount St Helens…