International Solar Alliance

International Solar Alliance

News: Recently, the Sixth session of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was hosted at Bharat Mandapam, in New Delhi.

Background:
• The 6th Assembly of ISA has decided to increase viability gap funding(VGF) for projects from 10% up to 35%.
• India is considering a $25 million investment as a capital contribution to the Global Solar Facility.

About ISA:
• The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 120 signatory countries, most of which are sunshine countries.
• The primary objective of the alliance is to work for the efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
• ISA was proposed as a multi-country partnership organization with membership from the ‘sunshine belt’ countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. However, the ambit has been subsequently expanded to include several European countries and the US as well.
• The Assembly of the ISA is the apex decisionmaking body which comprises representatives from each Member Nations.
• Secretariat – Gurugram, Haryana

What initiatives have been taken by ISA?
• One Sun, One World & One Grid: It aims to connect different regional grids through a common grid that will be used to transfer renewable energy power, especially solar energy. The idea for the One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative was put forth by India, at the First Assembly of the ISA in October 2018.
• Mobilising Finance for Accelerated Solar Deployment: The ISA is working to mobilize more than USD 1 trillion dollars of investments that are needed by 2030. This initiative is part of the ISA’s ‘Towards 1000’ strategy which aims to mobilize USD 1,000 billion of investments in solar energy solutions by 2030.
• Capacity Building: The ISA conducts various capacity building measures to equip its member countries with the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively implement solar energy solutions.
• Common Risk Mitigation Mechanism (CRMM): It aims to act as an insurance pool for financiers.
• Universalisation of Energy Access through Solar Mini-Grids: This initiative aims to provide universal access to energy by leveraging solar mini-grids.

Challenges faced by ISA
• India is a founding member country in ISA but it itself is unable to meet material capability in solar sector and is dependent on imports (primarily China) to meet solar equipment requirements.
• Several member states are developing countries with different priorities at home who have not been able to articulate their solar needs well.
• The 121 countries lying in the sunshine-rich area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, most of which are poorer, account for nearly three-quarters of the world’s population but only 23% of global solar capacity.
• International Solar Alliance is unable to differentiate itself from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
• Land acquisition concerns for solar projects hinders its progress.

Conclusion
• The ISA has helped build new solar models, it has supported governments to make energy legislations and has pooled demand for solar technology from different countries which has helped drive down costs.
• Capacity building efforts, improved access to finance has ensured greater private investments in the development of solar energy sector. 

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