The International Solar Alliance is an alliance of more than 120 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which come either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The alliance is also called International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA).
The alliance’s primary objective is to work for efficient use of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. This initiative was first proposed by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in a speech in November 2015, in which he referred the sunshine countries as suryaputra (‘sons of the Sun’). The alliance is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization.
The Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco, in November 2016, and 121 countries have signed it. The ISA has set a target of 1 TW of solar energy by 2030. The ISA is headquartered in India. In January 2016, Narendra Modi, and the French president François Hollande jointly laid the foundation stone of the ISA headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA at the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gwalpahari, Gurugram.
In conformity with the ISA Framework Agreement on 6 December 2017, 30 days after ratification by the 15th country, ISA became the first full-fledged treaty based international intergovernmental organization with headquarters in India.
To achieve its objectives, ISA will undertake following activities:
- Collaboration for joint research and development and sharing knowledge.
- Acquisition, diffusion and absorption of knowledge by member countries.
- Creation of expert groups for development of common standards, their monitoring and verification.
- Development of partnerships among country specific technology centres for supporting
- technology absorption to promote energy security and energy access.
- Training programmes on different aspects of solar energy in the member countries.
- Encourage joint ventures among companies in the member countries.
- Sharing experiences in field of solar energy development.
- Establish new and innovative financing mechanisms to fund solar energy development.
- Collaborate with international bodies, corporates, and other organisations to promote utilization of solar energy.
Founding conference of ISA
India hosted the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in March 2018 at New Delhi. It was co-chaired by Prime Minister Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron.
India announced $1.4 billion line of credit to cover 27 projects in 15 countries. It is one of the world’s largest investment plans in solar energy. France committed an additional €700 million in loans by 2022 to emerging economies for solar energy projects.
The founding conference was attended by 23 heads of states and governments from all over the world. Six vice presidents and deputy prime ministers and 19 ministers. In addition, there were representations from the United Nations, Multilateral Development Banks, energy-related think tanks, corporate sector and civil society.
Delhi Solar Agenda
The Delhi Solar Agenda was adopted in the founding conference of the ISA. The agenda states that the ISA member States aspire for increased share of solar energy in the energy consumption in order to tackle climate change and reduce economic costs.
First assembly of ISA
Consequent to the Founding Conference, the first Assembly of ISA was held in October 2018. The Assembly is supreme decision making body of ISA. The assembly seeks to guide the process to significantly harness solar energy for achieving universal energy access at affordable rates. The Assembly decides upon various administrative, financial and programme related issues.
Ministers from ISA Treaty Framework signatory countries are invited for the Assembly. Till October 2018, out of 121 prospective member countries, 68 countries have signed the Framework Agreement of the ISA. Out of 68 countries that have signed Framework Agreement of the ISA, 44 countries have ratified the instrument of ratification.
The countries that have ratified the ISA Treaty Framework, attended the Assembly as Members. Countries that have signed the Framework Agreement but are yet to ratify, attended the Assembly as Observers.