“International Solar Alliance is India’s gift to the world for combating climate change. India is leading entire developing countries in the world.”
-Francois Hollande President of France
On January 25, 2016 Prime Minister
Mr. Narendra Modi and Mr. Francois Hollande, the President of France, boarded a metro train at Race Course metro station in New Delhi at 3.16 p.m. and after a 37-minute journey, stepped out at Arjangarh station in Gurgaon. They could have gone there in a cavalcade of official cars by road or could have flown there by a helicopter. It would have been much convenient too for them, given the security concerns surrounding the two leaders. But it would have defeated the very purpose for which both the leaders were travelling. In order to bring their message home in consonance with the purpose of their journey, they took a conscious decision and opted for a ride in the Delhi Metro.
The Trip as a Message
They were going to inaugurate the interim secretariat of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a highly promising and significant initiative conceived by India in order to organise and enhance the efforts of generating solar power the world over in a more concerted way and make the world less dependent on fossil fuels. For such a journey, nothing else could have been a better mode of transport than the metro rail which has become the most fitting symbol of the commitment to renewable energy in our times. The trip in itself was a message to the world to reduce individual carbon footprints and use environment- friendly mode of transport. Before boarding the metro train back at 5.20 p.m. from Guru Dronacharya station in Gurgaon to Jorbagh station in New Delhi, they inaugurated the interim secretariat of the ISA and laid foundation of the building of the newly created world organisation which envisages to deploy warmth of the Sun to control the rising
warmth of the planet earth.
Sun to power Our Future
President hit the nail on the head when he said that this ISA was India’s gift to the world and India was leading the entire developing world in fighting the climate change! After the World Yoga Day, this has been the second most important international initiative conceived by PM Mr. Modi, which has its origin in India’s traditional knowledge and philosophy. Mr. Modi is known for his efforts to develop solar energy in Gujarat when he headed thfe State as its Chief Minister. He came to the Centre with the same dream and took no time to expand it to the global level. He not only took up solar power-generation programmes in a big way setting ambitious and unprecedented1 targets for India, but also came up with the idea that if all the solar-rich countries of the world come together they will be able to alter the energy scenario for coming years.find latest Sarkari Naukri Recalling his knowledge of ancient scriptures of the Indian tradition, he emphasised that since ancient times different civilisations have given a special place to the Sun. In the Indian tradition, the Sun is the source of strength for the earth. At the same time, it is the source of all forms of energy. As the Rig Veda says, Sun God is the soul of all beings, moving or non-moving. He believed that today when sources of energy and the excesses of our industrial age have put our planet earth in peril, the world will have to turn to the Sun to power our future.
121 Solar-rich Nations
This immense faith in the power of Sun led to the idea of creating an international organisation consisting of sun- rich countries. If all petroleum-rich countries can come together to form a group, if countries of Africa can form an association, if there can be organisations such as SAARC, G4, G20, ASEAN, etc., then why cannot there be an alliance of all the sun-rich countries of the world. After intense studies and much consideration, it was found that there are 121 countries falling between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, which are full of sunrays at least 300
days of a year. Accordingly, India spearheaded an international campaign and invited all these countries to come and work together to globally increase the use of solar energy. When the idea of an alliance of solar-rich countries was taking shape in India, Paris was busy in organising the global climate summit in November- December 2015 and all the Heads of state from all over the world were expected to gather there to discuss the issues related to climate change. Subsequently, in active collaboration with the French President, the International Solar Alliance was launched on the sidelines of the Paris Climate Summit on November 30, 2015 with 121 countries signing up for the initiative. Mr. Modi expressed his gratitude towards the President of France by saying: “I am grateful to the President Hollande for his keen interest and immediate and full offer of support for my long-cherished dream of an international alliance of solar-rich countries.”
The Land & $30 million
This has not been without reason that a number of world leaders have praised Mr. Modi for the speed at which he works and gets the things implemented. Within three months of the launching of the initiative in Paris, Mr. Modi, hand in hand with Mr. Hollande, headed towards the office of National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) situated in Gurgaon to inaugurate the interim headquarters of the ISA. This goes without saying that the global secretariat of ISA will work from India, where it has been given 5 acres of land within the premises of NISE to build its headquarters, this will not be an institution of India alone. This will be a global institution like UN and will function independently. Like the United Nations and the World Health Organisation it also belongs to the whole world. A system will be evolved in which people from different countries will lead the initiative and hold various responsibilities within the organisation. India has not only provided land for construction of headquarters of the ISA, but has also committed to extend a contribution of $30 million for its infrastructure and development.
What will the Alliance do?
The vast majority of humanity is blessed with generous sunlight round the year. Yet, many are also without any source of power. That is why this alliance is so important. Stating its aims and objectives, it has been said that we want to bring solar energy into our lives and homes, by making it cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to grid; we will collaborate on research and innovation; we will share knowledge and exchange best practices; we will cooperate on training and building institutions; we will discuss regulatory issues and promote common standards; we will attract investments in the solar sector, encourage joint ventures and develop innovative financing mechanisms; we will partner with other international initiatives on renewable energy; this is an alliance that brings together developed and developing countries, governments and industries, laboratories and institutions, in a common enterprise; as the world put clean energy within the reach of all, it will create unlimited economic opportunities that will be the foundation of the new economy of this century.
Two times more Sunshine
There is already a revolution taking place in the solar energy sector. Technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving. It is making the dream of universal access to clean energy become more real. India has a capacity of 4GW and Mr. Modi’s government has set a target of adding 100 GW of solar power by 2022. By the end of 2017, India will have added another 12 GW. In last one and half a years, the reduction in costs of generating solar energy has led to declining prices. A few years back, it was priced at Rs. 7 to Rs. 8 per unit and was considered the costliest energy available on the block. But most recently with prices coming down to Rs. 4.50 to Rs. 5 per unit, it has been considered the cheapest energy today. A number of Indian and global companies have taken plunge to join the solar energy sector. The SoftBank of Japan is the most prominent company among them. Its President and COO, Mr. Masayoshi Son was recently in India. In an interview to a newspaper he said, “In India, there isn’t enough electricity. That is why we decided to go more solar. God is so kind, he has given so much sunshine to India. India has two times more sunshine than Japan or Europe… In India, our solar investment will be big. If we do 10 giga watts, that alone is going to be 20 billion dollars.”
A more confident Nation
The way India has willingly and eagerly taken responsibility on its shoulders for leading the world in the solar power sector indicates towards a more confident nation which does not shy away from herculean tasks and has newly acquired courage to think big. We can safely hope to see the heads of 121 solar-rich nations gathering in India to participate in first summit of the ISA in not so distant future. This initiative has greater chance of success, since it addresses one of the gravest problems faced by human beings and every nation has a stake in it. fgTTt