International Solar Alliance must read for UPSC 2019
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International Solar Alliance must read for UPSC 2019

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

  • The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • This initiative was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in November 2015 at Wembley Stadium, in which he referred to sunshine countries as Suryaputra (“Sons of the Sun”).
  • It was jointly launched by India and France in November 2015 in Paris on the sidelines of the UN Climate Conference (COP-21).
  • The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization.
  • Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can join the ISA and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.
  • The Framework Agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016 on the sidelines of the Marrakech Climate Change Conference and 121 countries have joined.
  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is to be headquartered in India.
  • It would cater to large-scale deployment of solar energy through aggregation of demand, technology and innovation from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn.
  • It expects to facilitate the addition of 1,000 GW of solar energy by 2030.
  • Three programmes launched by ISA are- Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Use, Affordable Finance a Scale, and Scaling Solar Mini-Grids.

OBJECTIVES & SIGNIFICANCE

  • The launching of such an alliance in Paris also sends a strong signal to the global communities about the sincerity of the developing nations towards their concern about climate change and to switch to a low-carbon growth path.
  • India has pledged a target of installing 100GW by 2022 and reduction in emission intensity by 33–35% by 2030 to let solar energy reach to the most unconnected villages and communities and also towards creating a clean planet.
  • India’s pledge to the Paris summit offered to bring 40% of its electricity generation capacity (not actual production) from non-fossil sources (renewable, large hydro, and nuclear) by 2030.
  • it is based on world cooperation.
  • It is first specialised intergovernmental body on solar energy expected to drive R&D on solar energy (from electricity generation to storage capacity).
  • It will mobilise investments from various sources for deployment of solar energy. It has already got multilateral agencies like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the European Bank on board.
  • It is the first international organisation to be permanently headquartered in India. This will make India more attractive for investments in solar energy and help it achieve its target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022.

GEOGRAPHICAL IMPORTANCE

  • The area of Earth located in between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn is called the tropical (torrid) zone.
  • The points on the Tropic of Cancer are the northernmost points up to which the Sun can pass directly overhead. Similarly, the southernmost points are on the Tropic of Capricorn which follows the same criteria.
  • Location at the north of the Tropic of Cancer shows the Sun appearing at the south of the zenith.
  • The sunniest countries of the world are on the African continent, ranging from Somalia- Horn of Africa-, east to Niger, west and north to Egypt.
  • For India, the possible additional benefit from the alliance can be the strengthening ties and with the major African countries increase goodwill for India among them

FUTURE TARGETS

  • India, with the support of France, has invited nations to facilitate infrastructure for implementation of solar projects.
  • The alliance has been committed $1 trillion as investment, and it is committed to making the costs of solar power more affordable for remote and inaccessible communities.
  • The alliance will endorse India in achieving its goal of generating 100GW of solar energy and 175GW of renewable energy by 2022.
  • The countries shall support each other in research and development as well as other high-level activities.
  • It is also seen as an alliance by the developing countries to form a united front and to undertake research and development for making solar power equipment within developing countries.

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