International Solar Alliance meet to host Fortune 500 companies CEOs, announce Solar Nobels
New Delhi: With New Delhi hosting the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) assembly in December, an ambitious outreach programme is in the works including hosting chief executives of Fortune 500 companies and starting a Solar Nobel prize. The Indian imprint on the ISA will be visible with global awards to be launched in the names of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and astronaut Kalpana Chawla, according to Upendra Tripathy, interim director general of ISA. The congregation of global CEOs is being planned in New Delhi to help create a $1 billion corpus to help the alliance of 121 sunshine countries, nations that receive sunlight for more than 300 days a year, meet their energy needs. ISA, the first treaty-based international government organization to be based in India, assembly will be attended by several heads of states, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“We will invite all the Fortune 500 companies and are planning a CEO’s conclave,” Tripathy said in an interview. ISA plans to put in place a corporate partner scheme, wherein a corpus will be created. With contribution from member countries being voluntary, the idea is to attract 1,000 corporate partners who will contribute $1 million each. The interest earned on this corpus will help in ISA’s functioning. With India taking a lead role in setting up the ISA, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and Solar Energy Corp. of India have announced their $1 million each contribution to the corpus. “The recurring expenditure on ISA will be met from voluntary contributions from member countries, bilateral and multilateral agencies; other appropriate institutions; and from interest earned from the augmented corpus to be built up,” India’s ministry of external affairs said in a 22 May statement. Also, as part of its outreach, ISA plans to start awards on the lines of the Nobel Prize wherein an alliance country will be recognized and awarded for not only promoting solar but also having the potential and demonstrating efforts to achieve it.
“We will call them Solar Nobels,” said Tripathy. “We will get the approval from the steering committee which will be held in the first week of September.”
An Atal Solar Award is also likely to be announced at the assembly which will be administered by the ISA. “We have requested government of India if they can create a corpus for the award,” said Tripathy. The idea of a solar alliance of countries was mooted by Modi. ISA was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015 and has been ratified by France, Fiji, India, Mauritius, Nauru and Tuvalu. Also, ISA has requested the Haryana government to create a Kalpana Chawla Solar Award for woman solar scientists. Chawla, one of the seven crew members who was killed in space shuttle ‘Columbia’ disaster in 2003, was the first Indian woman in space and was from Haryana. These two proposals have not yet been decided and are at the discussion stage, said Tripathy. Other prominent intergovernmental organisations in the energy sector include the Vienna-based Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Paris-based International Energy Agency.