PARIS: Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with French President Francois Hollande today launched the International Solar Alliance and pledged India's assistance of USD 30 million for the initiative that brings together developed and developing countries.
Modi also announced that India will host the initiative in the premises of the National Institute of Solar Energy in Gurgaon, Haryana. He said that India will provide land and contribute about USD 30 million to build the Secretariat infrastructure. "We will support operations for five years, and together we will raise long terms funds to achieve our goals," Modi said.
"This is an alliance that brings together developed and developing countries, governments and industries, laboratories and institutions in a common enterprise," he said at the launch of the International Solar Alliance. "This day is the sunrise of new hope –- not just for clean energy, but for villages and homes still in darkness; and for our mornings and evenings filled with a clear view of the glory of the sun," the Prime Minister said of the launch of the initiative supported by over 100 countries.
Modi said that as the developing world lifts billions of people into prosperity, the hope for a sustainable planet rests on a bold global initiative. He stated that advanced countries need to leave enough carbon space for developing countries to grow. "That is natural climate justice," Modi asserted.
Hollande lauded Prime Minister Modi's initiative as a paradigm shift. Modi said, "to my long cherished dream of International Solar Alliance, President Hollande responded with immediate support."
UN Secretary General also hailed Prime Minister Modi's initiative saying, "I welcome the initiative of PM @narendramodi. The @UN will work to make it a success." To highlight the importance of solar energy, Modi said that in Indian tradition, Sun is the source of all forms of energy.
"As Rig Veda says, Sun God is the Soul of all beings, moving and non-moving. Many in India begin their day with a prayer to the Sun," he said. "Today, when the energy sources and excesses of our industrial age have put our planet in peril, the world must turn to Sun to power our future," he added.
Modi highlighted that India has a capacity of 4GW and has set a target of adding 100 GW of solar power by 2022. "By the end of next year, we would have added 12 GW."
The idea of solar alliance was mooted by Modi during the the India-Africa Forum Summit last month. Noting that energy sources and "excesses" of industrial age have put the planet in peril, Modi said the world must turn to sun to power the future. Modi, who was here on a two-day visit to attend the Paris conference, began his address by expressing solidarity with the French people and India's deepest admiration for France for being an outstanding host to the world in a "difficult moment".
A book on quotations about nature whose preface is written jointly by Modi and Hollande was also released. The Prime Minister dedicated the new edition of his book Convenient Action to the French President. "I am honoured to co-author the preface with him," Modi said, adding that, "since ancient times, different civilisations have given a special place to Sun."
Modi called on advanced countries to leave enough carbon space for developing countries to grow as he said this would mean a growth path with lighter carbon footprint. "So, convergence between economy, ecology and energy should define our future. The vast majority of humanity is blessed with generous sunlight round the year. Yet, many are also without any source of power. This is why this alliance is so important," he said.
"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," he added. Modi said as part of the initiative, countries will cooperate on training, building institutions, discussing 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," Modi said of the alliance. "There is already a revolution in solar energy. Technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving. It is making the dream of universal access to clean energy has become more real," Modi said.
"I am delighted with the industry response. As you 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," he said.
Officials said that there are over 100 countries which are solar-rich, lying fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. These countries, all potential members of the ISA are united by a shared vision to bring clean, affordable and renewable solar energy within the reach of all, they said.
Solar energy also is a practical and efficient way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions. With this in mind, countries have been invited by the objective of significantly augmenting solar power generation in their respective countries with a view to contributing to global, sustainable development.
Yesterday, Power Minister Piyush Goyal had said at this conceptual phase, around 50 countries will attend the launch. He had said that there will be an international steering committee which will deliberate day after tomorrow on the contours and framework of this alliance. There are around 15-16 countries which have expressed interest to part of the committee.