6th Int'l Solar Alliance assembly puts focus on boosting global investment

Ahmed Kotb from India., Wednesday 1 Nov 2023

The sixth assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) launched yesterday in New Delhi with the participation of ministers from 20 countries and delegates from 116 ISA member countries, including Egypt.

The sixth assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) launched in New Delhi.
The sixth assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) launched in New Delhi.


Raj Kumar Singh, Indian minister of state for new and renewable energy and ISA chairman, announced the signing of several projects that aim to ensure electricity access for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, using renewable energy sources, especially solar energy.

However, Singh added that there are still obstacles to the significant expansion of solar projects.

He pointed to the lack of private investment, explaining that public investment is not enough. The chairman highlighted how the ISA is working to bridge this shortfall through its Viability Gap Funding (VGF) mechanism, which provides grants to ensure that private investment flows to developing countries, especially in Africa.

Singh also pointed out that India has accelerated the pace of its renewable energy projects over the past few years by combining public and private investments, especially in solar energy.

He also stressed that a renewable energy transition requires addressing the lack of access to electricity for hundreds of millions of people around the world

Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, French minister for development and international partnerships and co-president of ISA, emphasized that ISA members will work to promote solar energy projects at the 28th UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which is slated to be held in the UAE in November.

The solar revolution has already started, she said, explaining that the initial challenges of reducing the cost of solar energy projects and stimulating investment has been solved.

“Nowadays more solar energy projects are being implemented than ever before, with billions of dollars being spent on solar energy projects every year,” she said.

The ISA is playing a key role in this transition, helping finance production and storage of solar energy in developing countries, taking into account the national development policies of each country.

Accelerating solar energy

Ajay Mathur, director general of the ISA, stressed that solar energy is urgently needed in developing countries and where people do not have reliable access to electricity.

“Electricity from small solar energy networks, operating agricultural pumps, and operating cold stores are considered among the most important needs of such people in different places of the world,” Mathur said.

The ISA has helped establish more than 9.5 GW of solar applications in 55 developing countries, including by training more than 4,000 people, he pointed out.

Mathur also added that the alliance is working to develop Solar Technology Application Resource Centres (STAR-C) in countries that will be a hub for technology, knowledge and experience in the field of solar energy.

African countries face two challenges to solar projects, Mathur noted, including finding developers as well as raising the needed funds.

“Last year, about $310 billion were invested in solar energy globally, with only about three percent of that in African countries,” he added.

African countries need regulations that can be attractive enough for investors and are cost effective for them to start a renewable energy projects, Mathur noted.

There are many benefits to adopting more renewable energy projects, mainly solar, including reducing electricity imports and creating jobs, he added.

“Solar energy is versatile, and we need to harness its continuously developing technologies, while realizing the great opportunities that exist in investing in solar energy, in order to achieve the 2030 sustainable development goals,” Mathur concluded.

Participants in the assembly highlighted the need to align local regulations with the requirements of the renewable energy field.

They also agreed that solar energy is a requirement for sustainable development.

They concluded by pointing out the need to increase investment in solar energy to help achieve economic growth, which requires securing sufficient and diversified energy capabilities.

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