ISA members pledge to use more solar power, create more jobs

PM Modi and Marcon

The founding conference of ISA is being co-chaired by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and French president Emmanuel Macron in New Delhi, with delegates including heads of state and government, ministers, chief executives of global organisations and other high-level officials.

The treaty-based organization, launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, aims to promote solar energy in 121 countries.

During the summit, New Delhi also announced 27 solar projects under the Indian government's credit lines in 15 countries, including Bangladesh, Chad, Congo, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda and Sri Lanka.

"The French Development Agency will allocate additional 700 million euros to its commitment to solar energy by 2022", Macron said.

The member states agreed to facilitate joint research and Development, to consider off-grid solar applications to cater to the energy requirements of poorer and remote communities and to facilitate awareness and skills enhancement of local communities in the monitoring and maintenance of solar technologies. "You [India] attracted investment, you supported them, you are training your own people". The country has increased its solar power capacity by about eight times over the past four years.

Referring to "solar mamas", a group of African women trained as solar engineers under an Indian government program, Macron said these women "didn't wait and didn't stop because some countries made a decision to just leave the floor and leave the Paris agreement".

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"Because they decided it was good for them, for their children, their grandchildren".

The agenda calls for eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions and the transformation of the world in which development and application of technology are climate-sensitive, resilient and respectful of biodiversity. "They chose to act and keep acting", he said.

Speaking at the launch of the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) summit, Macron called for "joint duties" towards a "planet that we are sharing" and took a dig at his USA counterpart Donald Trump, who pulled out of the 2015 Paris climate deal. This comes even as India chases the world's largest renewable programme, targeting 175 gigawatts (GW, or 1,000 megawatts) of renewable power by 2022 against its current capacity of around 60 GW.

Furthermore, the UAE Energy Strategy 2050 targets increasing the contribution of clean energy in the overall national energy mix to 50 percent by 2050, saving US$190 billion of the overall energy costs until 2050.

"We have to ensure that a better and affordable solar technology is easily accessible to everyone", he said.

Macron's 4-day India visit concludes on Monday.

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