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What's going on at the latest International Solar Alliance meet?

It has been projected as the 'OPEC of the future' - so what is the International Solar Alliance contemplating in its fifth assembly at a time of energy crisis around the world?

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the International Solar Alliance meeting in Paris in 2015.

India is hosting the fifth assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) where various discussions and debates are happening on critical global energy transition and the spread of solar power.

The fifth ISA gathering started in New Delhi on October 17 and will run till October 20 with India presiding and France as co-chair. At the four-day meeting participants from 109 nations will discuss their experiences in promoting solar energy as part of a low-carbon economy, discussing opportunties and problems, and actions in mitigating climate change through the deployment of solar energy solutions.

About the ISA

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a platform that encourages increased deployment of solar energy technology as a way to improve energy access, guarantee energy security, and accelerate energy transition in its member nations.

The ISA works to create and implement solar-powered energy solutions that are affordable and transformative in order to assist member nations in pursuing low-carbon growth trajectories, with a focus on having an impact in the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

With the help of sustainable energy solutions and the installation of 1,000 GW of solar energy capacity, ISA provides energy access to one billion people. By doing this, 1,000 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in annual global emissions would be reduced.

Currently, the ISA has nine programmes, each of which focuses on a different application that could aid in the widespread adoption of solar energy solutions. The four core areas - analytics and advocacy, capacity building, programmatic support, and readiness and enabling efforts are the focus of the activities of the programmes. These areas work to foster a climate that is conducive to solar energy investments in the country.

The Fifth Assembly of the ISA

Every member country is represented in the assembly, which is the highest decision-making body of the ISA. This group decides how the ISA's Framework Agreement will be put into practice and what coordinated efforts will be needed to accomplish the goal. Annually, the Assembly convenes at the ISA's headquarters at the ministerial level. It evaluates the overall impact of the programs and other actions on the deployment of solar energy, as well as on performance, dependability, cost, and financial scope.

Energy access, energy security, and energy transformation are three crucial problems that will be discussed at the ISA's fifth assembly. World leaders from ISA member countries will also talk about the ISA's strategic goal for assisting all developing member countries from the developing world through capacity building, analytics and advocacy, and programmatic support for Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States member countries.

A stronger international agreement to promote solar energy is anticipated to come out of the meeting in New Delhi. In this important decade of climate action, increased international cooperation will be the driving force behind investment and the creation of millions of new 'green jobs'.

Three analytical reports will also be released following the fifth assembly:

  • World Solar Technology Report

  • World Solar Market Report

  • World Solar Investment Report

During the event, strategic discussions on increasing sustainable solar projects in member countries are expected. ISA is facilitating financial access by building risk mitigation strategies and utilizing technical help from international partners. Additionally, three global solar reports on investment, technology, and markets are being introduced at the event. These reports address critical global technological developments, achievements, and challenges and offer a summary of recent technological advances and inventions. Additionally, these reports analyse market-influencing global political dynamics and factors that influence national solar markets.

Some more programmes and targets of the International Solar Alliance are:

  • The ISA Strategic Plan for the next five years aims to mobilize USD 1 trillion in investment in ISA member nations by 2030.

  • ISA also aims to promote universal energy access and green economic growth.

  • The goal of the ISA Solar PV Battery Waste Management Program is to manage waste in the solar sector effectively. This is one of the newest programs that seeks to create a circular economy by reducing, reusing, and recycling solar and battery waste.

  • Solar Rooftop Programme in member countries

  • ISA is establishing a Country Partnership Framework in close collaboration with local stakeholders to fulfill member countries' specific energy transition needs. The project will investigate solutions to facilitate solar deployment in ISA nations based on their needs.

In order to facilitate project implementation and discussions on investment, risk mitigation, and capacity building in Member Countries, ISA partners with organizations and other members which will meet in the Fifth Assembly, ISA is working with:

  1. United Nations Development Programme - They are working on many projects to install solar water pumps in member countries and to use solar for agricultural purposes.

  2. World Bank - When the Sustainable Risk Mitigation Initiative (SRMI) was founded, ISA efforts to attract funding were encouraged. This initiative allows for the reduction of governmental investment while attracting potential private sector investors to fund solar projects in developing countries.

  3. Asian Development Bank - They are collaborating to expand solar energy in South Asia. In order to build a technical and financial plan for the implementation of Nationally Determined Contributions in this region, the Solar Action Agenda is now being prepared.

  4. European Union - In order to support ISA's work, the European Union has been giving it technical assistance.

R. K. Singh, Minister of New and Renewable Energy, India, summed up the mood at the event when he said while launching the fifth assembly, “Member countries of ISA have come together to fight the challenges of global climate change and the need for the just energy transition. We have the solutions to fight climate change & develop the technologies, making sure that even more effective resources are available in the years to come.”

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