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International Solar Alliance presides over nine solar agreements

Projects signed across five ISA member countries, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India and Spain

Upendra Tripathy.
Upendra Tripathy.

The World Future Energy Summit (WFES) hosted the first-ever gathering of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), when it discussed the body’s aim of raising $1tn in global solar investments by 2030.

On the sidelines of the event in Abu Dhabi, the ISA also signed a letter of intent with Yes Bank for its first financing commitment of up to $5bn by 2030.

ISA also signed nine solar projects across five ISA member countries, including UAE, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, India and Spain.

“The best way to get going is to get projects on the ground. That is what we call action to transaction, and that is what ISA is all about,” said Upendra Tripathy, interim director general of International Solar Alliance, a treaty-based international organsation based in India.

Launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in late 2015 by the President of France and the Prime Minister of India, the alliance is a coalition of sun-rich countries which seeks to increase the use of solar energy and reduce its members’ dependence on fossil fuels.

“Solar energy will play a central role in the new age of energy. Solar is the fastest growing energy source,” said Adnan Z Amin, director general of IRENA, who addressed the forum.

“The chief driver behind the impressive drive of solar is its impressive business case.”

He said the price of solar PV modules – solar panels – plummeted by 80% from 2010 to 2016, and the cost of generation from utility scale PV solar projects has also fallen by more than 70%.

“These downward trends are expected to continue. Our analysis finds that over the next decade, costs for solar PV could drop by a further 60%, and concentrated solar by almost 45%,” added Amin.

Ministers from seven-member states attended the forum and spoke about their hopes for the solar industries in their countries.

Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, cabinet member and Minister of Climate Change and Environment for the Government of the UAE, said the Emirates has been at the forefront of renewable energy for over a decade, since the launch of Masdar.

But he added that more still needs to be done to meet the country’s ambitious national clean energy targets.

Some countries in the alliance are just at the start of their solar journey, such as Somalia.

Its biggest power source is currently diesel generators. Electricity is largely non-existent and access to it is very low. Nearly everyone cooks with firewood or charcoal, and charcoal supplies are running low, it was revealed.

“Yet the Somali Government has a bold idea for energy and sustainable energy by renewable energy investment,” prof Salim Alio Ibro, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Government of Somalia told the forum.

The alliance includes more than 121 prospective member countries located either fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.

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