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Credit: Government of India

Credit: Government of India

India and France join hands in pushing massive deployment of solar energy

According to the joint statement issued by France and India, the two countries have reaffirmed their commitment to lead the fight against climate change and the push for massive deployment of solar energy.

At the invitation of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, French President Mr Emmanuel Macron paid a State Visit to India from 10 to 12 March 2018.

Partnership for the Planet

France and India reaffirmed their commitment to lead the fight against climate change, based on the principles of climate justice, fostering climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions development.

Both countries committed to fully implement the Paris Agreement at the COP24 and further on, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) as a part of an irreversible global process at combating climate change for the benefit of all humanity. They also stressed the positive contribution of the One Plant Summit in Paris on 12 December 2017 to this objective.

The French President thanked the Indian Prime Minister for India’s support to the initiative to work on a Global Pact for the Environment.

International Solar Alliance

On 11 March 2018, the two leaders co-hosted the Founding Summit of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi.

The ISA initiative was launched by France and India during the Paris Climate Conference (COP21) in December 2015. It acquired the state of international organisation in December last year. It is also the first international organization hosted in India, with its headquarters situated in Gurugram, in the outskirts of New Delhi.

The new international organization aims to accelerate the deployment of solar energy in 121 sun-rich countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. These countries represent 73% of the world’s population.

Thus far, the framework agreement defining its statutes has been signed by 58 countries and ratified by 26 of them. This is one of the most promising coalitions to combat climate change.

23 countries have taken part in an ISA consultation on their priorities in the fields of solar energy for agriculture and rural areas, solar mini-grids, rooftop installations and e-mobility. 100 priority projects have been advanced to launch a first phase of fundraising.

The objectives of ISA are to: (1) significantly reduce the costs of solar energy, (2) meet the high energy demand in developing countries, and (3) combat climate change.

To achieve these objectives, the Alliance aims to implement financial instruments to mobilize over US$1 trillion in solar energy investment by 2030.

ISA member countries undertake to amalgamate and harmonise their requests for finance, technologies and innovation to create a common market in order to lower costs, strengthen quality control, better adapt products to needs and improve technologies.

To make solar energy affordable for the poorest, the Alliance underscores the importance of channelling capital, reducing costs through financial mechanisms, promoting universal access to energy and supporting the creation of common standards to guarantee appropriate product quality in the use of products by member countries.

Credit: Government of India

Co-hosting the Founding ISA Summit in New Delhi, the two leaders welcomed the entry into force of the Framework Agreement of the ISA. The leaders underlined their commitment to furthering and deepening concrete projects and programmes under the aegis of ISA to mobilise affordable financing for massive solar energy deployment.

“India, which is being viewed as a key player in tapping solar energy, has pledged to generate 175 gigawatts (GW) of electricity in India from renewable energy sources by 2022,” said Indian Prime Minister Modi during his address at the summit.

Prime Minister Modi presented a 10-point action plan that includes making affordable solar technology available to all nations, raising the share of electricity generated from photovoltaic cells in the energy mix and framing regulations and standards to support the initiative.

He also called for concessional financing and less-risky funds for solar projects to raise the share of solar power in the energy basket, provide cheaper electricity and cut carbon emissions.

Speaking alongside Indian Prime Minister Modi, French President Macron in his address said while the world has taken great strides in understanding the importance of solar energy, much needs to be done.

According to Economic Times, President Macron said that there are financing and regulation hurdles for achieving the target which need to be cleared by government, private sector and civil society coming together.

Reuters reported that France will commit 700 million euros to ISA, reiterating the European country’s commitment to the alliance and clean energy.

The two leaders reaffirmed that the strengthening of the India-French technological cooperation on renewable energy was a common priority for encouraging the emergence and dissemination of innovation in all the sectors. They stressed the importance of mobilizing public and private funds to support the development of solar energy.

The conference is being attended by heads of 23 nations and 10 ministerial representatives of different countries, besides heads of UN dignitaries, presidents of multilateral development banks, heads of global funds and financial institutions and energy-related institutions.

Credit: Government of India

In support of the deployment of solar power, Prime Minister Modi and President Macron also jointly inaugurated a 75-megawatt (MW) solar plant built by a French company in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

According to a report by Live Mint, the 75 MW solar plant is built at a cost of around Rs500 crore by French firm Engie at Dadar Kalan village on the hilly terrain of the Vindhyas range. Around 1,18,600 solar panels have been set up in over 380 acres. The plant will generate 15.6 crore units of electricity annually, about 1.30 crore units per month. Power would be transmitted to Jigna sub-station of Mirzapur range of Uttar Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd, officials said.

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