India’s mega initiative–International Solar Alliance (ISA) ; Inception and Way Forward

Solar Power to Get a Major Boost after setting up of International Solar Alliance

India’s mega initiative–International Solar Alliance (ISA) ; Inception and Way Forward

ISA is an alliance of 121 solar resource rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with French President Francois Hollande had recently announced a joint initiative on the setting up of a specialized platform that will contribute towards India’s goal of promoting solar energy generation from a mere 2500 mw in 2015 to an ambitious one lakh mega watt over by 2020,

Hollande was recently in India as chief guestor fRepublic Day Parade and had jointly laid the foundation stone of International Solar Alliance (ISA) Headquarters to be housed at National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gurgaon on January 25.

Union minister of state for power, coal and renewable energy, Piyush Goyal who has been instrumental in shaping this initiative was also present at the stone laying ceremony.

International Solar Alliance (ISA ) is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countrieslying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.

ISA has been envisioned as a specialized platform and will contribute towards the common goal of increasing utilization and promotion of solar energy and solar applications in its member countries.

The Paris declaration on International Solar Alliance states that the countries share the collective ambition to undertake innovative and concerted efforts for reducing the cost of finance and cost of technology for immediate deployment of competitive solar generation, financial instruments to mobilise more than 1000 Billion US Dollars of investments needed by 2030 for the massive deployment of affordable solar energy and to pave the way for future solar generation, storage and good technologies for countries’ individual needs.

ISA will work with partner countries in the identification of national opportunities to accelerate development and deployment of existing clean solar energy technologies, the potential for which largely remains untapped.

The increased deployment of solar technologies will benefit the countries in terms of direct and indirect employment opportunities generated and the economic activity that will be triggered through electricity and solar appliance access to predominantly rural households.

Across developing countries, it is mostly micro, small and medium enterprises that generate most of the economic activity and are the ones that benefit the most from electricity access, as they will be able to operate into the evening and increasetheir turnover. Increased deployment will also go a long way in realizing social benefits, for example through solar lanterns that improve educational outcomes from increased study hours, and lead to better health service delivery levels across communities.

If a rural primary health clinic has solar lights, it is more likely to be staffed after dark, and therefore it is also more likely to be visited by those who need its services.

Mission & Vision :

ISA’s Mission and Vision is to provide a platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries where global community including bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and stakeholders can make a positive contribution to the common goals of increasing utilizing of solar energy in meeting energy needs of ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner

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Objectives :

The overarching objective is to create a collaborative platform for increased deployment of solar energy technologies to enhance energy security & sustainable development; improve access to energy and opportunities for better livelihoods in rural and remote areas and to increase the standard of living.

ISA Focus Area :

To achieve the objectives, ISA will have five key focus areas:-

a. Promote solar technologies and investment in the solar sector to enhance income generation for the poor and global environment: Encourage member countries to promote investment in solar technologies/applications in areas of lighting, heating, cooling, distillation, desalination, disinfection, sterilization, pasteurization, pumping, storage, refrigeration, telecommunication, irrigation, drinking water supply, energy efficiency, etc. to promote income and welfare of the poor and make global environment more climate friendly;

b. Formulate projects and programmes to promote solar applications: Together and with partnership of member countries and with cooperation from international organizations, UN member countries, multilaterals, bi-laterals, corporates, non-profits, institutions of member and non-member countries of ISA, formulate projects and programmes to ensure solar light for energy deprived households by the year 2022;

c. Develop innovative Financial Mechanisms to reduce cost of capital: Partnering to develop innovative financial mechanism to access low cost, long tenure financial resources from bilateral, multilateral agencies and other sources;

d. Build a common Knowledge e-Portal: Build a knowledge platform, including a 24×7 e-portal for sharing of policy development experiences and best practices in member countries; and

e. Facilitate capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and R&D among member countries: Promote partnerships among R&D centres of member countries for application oriented research & development and delivering technologies to people as well as capacity building through training & educational programmes and exchange of officials/ entrepreneurs/sector experts/ students/interns/ apprentices, user groups etc.

These focus areas will cater to not just grid connected solar power (Solar parks, Solar thermal projects, Rooftop solar projects, Canal top projects, Solar on water bodies, Farmers and unemployed youths as generators) but also off-grid and decentralised applications (Village electrification and mini-grids, Solar lanterns, Mobile chargers, Solar powered telecom towers, Milk chilling centres, Potters wheels, Solar spinner for weavers, street lights, Solar pumps, Solar heating/cooling, etc.). These activities will contribute significantly in employment generation in a decentralized manner at the local levels, and also in spurring economic activities.

Important Activities :

To achieve the above overarching objectives, ISA, by way of supplementing the national efforts of the member countries, through appropriate means will undertake following activities:-

i. Collaborations for joint research, development and demonstration, sharing information and knowledge, capacity building, supporting technology hubs and creating networks; ii. Acquisition, diffusion and indigenization and absorption of knowledge, technology and skills by local stakeholders in the member countries;

iii. Creation of expert groups for development of common standards, test, monitoring and verification protocols;

iv. Creation of partnerships among country specific technology centres for supporting technology absorption for promoting energy security and energy access; v. Exchange of officials/ technology specialists for participation in the training programmes on different aspects of solar energy in the member countries;

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Exchange of officials/ technology specialists for participation in the training programmes on different aspects of solar energy in the member countries;

vi. Encourage companies in the member countries to set up joint ventures;

vii. Sharing of solar energy development experiences, analysis on short- and longer-term issues in key energy supply, financing practices, business models particularly for decentralized applications and off-grid applications, including creation of local platforms focusing on implementation solutions and grass root participation;

viii. Establish new financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital in the renewable energy sector and innovative financing to develop; and

ix. Collaborate with other multilateral bodies like International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA), Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP), International Energy Agency (IEA), Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN), United Nations bodies; bilateral organizations; Corporates, industry, and other stakeholders can contribute towards the goal of increasing utilization of solar energy in ISA member countries.

Governance Structure :

ISA is proposed to be a multi country partnership organization with membership from solar resource rich countries between the two tropics.

ISA’s proposed governance structure would consist of an Assembly, a Council and a Secretariat. However, it will be subject to member countries’ deliberations and suggestions. The Assembly will provide guidance, direction and advice to the Secretariat for undertaking the activities. ISA’s detailed statute will be developed in consultation with member countries.

ISA Secretariat :

Government of India (GoI) will support ISA by hosting its Secretariat for an initial period of five years and thereafter it is expected to generate its own resources and become self-financing.

Financial Sustainability :

The total Government of India support including putting normative cost of the land will be about Rs 400 crore (US$ 62 million).2 Government of India support of Rs 175 crore(US$ 27 million) will be utilized for creating building infrastructure and recurring expenditure. It will be provided over a 5 year period from 2016-17 to 2020-21. The recurring expenditure on ISA will be met from membership fee; contributions from bilateral and multilateral agencies; other appropriate institutions; and also from interest earned from the augmented corpus to be built up with contribution from bilateral, multilateral agencies andother appropriate institutions. Until another building is constructed, ISA will also use the newly built “Surya Bhawan” [Sun House] for its operations.


1. People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria

2. Antigua and Barbuda

3. Republic of Angola

4. Argentina Republic

5. Commonwealth of Australia

6. Commonwealth of Bahamas

7. Peoples Republic of Bangladesh

8. Barbados

9. Belize

10. Republic of Benin

11. Pluri’National State of Bolivia

12. Republic of Botswana.

13. Federal Republic of Brazil

14. Nation of Brunei, Abode of Peace

15. Burkina Faso

16. Republic of Burundi

17. Kingdom of Cambodia

18. Republic of Cameroon

19. Republic of Cape Verde

20. Central African Republic

21. Republic of Chad

22. Republic of Chile

23. People’s Republic of China

24. Republic of Colombia

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25. Union of Comoros

26. Congo – Democratic Republic of

27. Congo – Republic of

28. New Zealand

29. Republic of Costa Rica

30. Republic of Cote d’ivoire

31. Republic of Cuba

32. Republic of Djibouti

33. Commonwealth of Dominica

34. Dominican Republic

35. Republic of Ecuador

36. Arab Republic of Egypt

37. Republic of El Salvador

38. Republic of Equatorial Guinea

39. State of Eritrea

40. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

41. Republic of Fiji

42. France

43. Gabonese Republic

44. Republic of The Gambia

45. Republic of Ghana

46. Republic of Grenada

47. Republic of Guatemala

48. Republic of Guinea

49. Republic of Guinea-Bissau

50. Republic of Guyana

51. Republic of Haiti

52. Republic of Honduras

53. Republic of India

54. Republic of Indonesia

55. Jamaica

56. Japan

57. Republic of Kenya

58. Republic of Kiribati

59. Laos People’s Democratic Republic

60. Republic of Liberia

61. Libya

62. Republic of Madagascar

63. Republic of Malawi

64. Federation of Malaysia

65. Republic of Maldives

66. Republic of Mali

67. Republic of Marshall Islands

68. Islamic Republic of Mauritania

69. Republic of Mauritius

70. United Mexican State

71. Federated States of Micronesia

72. Republic of Mozambique

73. Republic of Myanmar

74. Republic of Namibia

75. Republic of Nauru

76. The Netherlands

77. Republic of Nicaragua

78. Republic of Niger

79. Federal Republic of Nigeria

80. Sultanate of Oman

81. Republic of Palau

82. Republic of Panama

83. Independent State of Papua New Guinea

84. Republic of Paraguay

85. Republic of Peru

86. Republic of Philippines

87. Republic of Rwanda

88. St. Lucia

89. Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis

90. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

91. Independent State of Samoa

92. Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe

93. Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

94. Republic of Senegal

95. Republic of Seychelles

96. Republic of Sierra Leone

97. Republic of Singapore

98. Solomon Islands

99. Federal Republic of Somalia

100. Republic of South Africa

101. Republic of South Sudan

102. Democratic Socialist Republic of Srilanka

103. Republic of Sudan

104. Republic of Suriname

105. United Republic of Tanzania

106. Kingdom of Thailand

107. Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste

108. Togolese Republic

109. Kingdom of Tonga

110. Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

111. Tuvalu

112. Republic of Uganda

113. United Arab Emirates

114. United Kingdom

115. United States of America

116. Republic of Vanuatu

117. Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

118. Socialist Republic of Vietnam

119. Republic of Yemen

120. Republic of Zambia

121. Republic of Zimbabwe