Katowice (Poland): At the world’s biggest climate change conference, the India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA) signed a joint declaration with the European Union (EU) on Tuesday to enhance solar energy.
A joint initiative of India and France, the alliance was launched in 2015 to drive 121 member countries to increase their solar power utilization. At the ongoing 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP24) being held here, the EU and ISA took another step towards promoting clean energy by signing a memorandum of understanding.
Recognizing the need for investments to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on energy (SDG7), the agreement states that the countries will jointly work towards mobilizing finance for the development of “affordable solar energy”. The ISA aims to mobilize $1 trillion to generate 1,000 gigawatt of solar energy by 2030.
The agreement also highlights that EU will share its knowledge and projects in the solar energy sector with the ISA member countries. Another agenda is to facilitate research and innovation in solar electricity.
“EU has always been a strong supporter of the alliance since its creation at the COP 21 in Paris in 2015. It has the potential to help many countries fulfil their Paris Agreement commitments and also provides vital elements for achieving the sustainable development goals,” said EU commissioner Miguel Arias Canete.
Around two months back, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated ISA’s first assembly in New Delhi. According to climate change activists, the MOU has potential to help India in meeting its 2022 renewable target. “Though most EU countries don’t fall in the sunshine bracket, their support in research, knowledge sharing, and mobilizing finance will prove to be very helpful. India needs to step up its grid integration and modernization to enable higher levels of renewable energy penetration,” said Pujarini Sen, senior campaigner of climate and energy at Greenpeace India.
The investments in solar should be diversified. “The focus should not just be on mega solar parks but also decentralized rooftop solar, investment in storage facilities and solar pumps,” added Sen.
Out of the 71 countries that have signed the ISA framework, at least 40 are from the African continent. “Africa is home to the world’s highest number of people without access to electricity. In the coming decade, demographic growth is likely to outpace rates of electrification which means that more than 600 million Africans will still live in the dark in 2030,” said Canete, adding that the investments in renewable sector in the region needs to be scaled up.
The countries have agreed to follow an “action-oriented” two-year programme and holding annual meetings.
* Develop synergies between EU and ISA to enhance clean energy transition
* Mobilize finance for the development of affordable solar energy
* Support research and innovation in solar electricity
* Sharing EU’s knowledge in the solar energy sector with ISA member countries