India on Monday called upon more countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) initiated by it to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels to meet the rising energy demand, even as it acknowledged the “phenomenal progress” made by the alliance and the growing solar energy capabilities the world over. “Four years ago in Paris, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande launched the International Solar Alliance (ISA), it was a new beginning. But, now I can say that the four-year-old child is running fast, but it must run faster because the need of the hour is that we must tap solar in a big way,”Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said. He was speaking at a Ministerial Plenary on “SOLAR AND THE SIDS - Making the Sun Shine Brighter,” on the sidelines of COP25 climate conference which is underway.
The 25th session of Conference of Parties under the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC COP25), started on December 2. ISA is an alliance of 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. “When ISA was launched, the idea was that all those countries, who get solar energy more as they fall between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn , should come together to create consumers’ own market,” he said, expressing happiness over 83 countries joining the ISA in just four years.
”I must also congratulate you all as the International Solar Alliance has aggregated demand from various countries on solar agriculture pumps and have floated a tender in which four parties have submitted their bids. I am sure that a best deal is on the cards and they will get it soon,”Javadekar said. Listing out the aggressive manner in which India has expanded its renewable energy mix, the Minister pointed out that “five years ago, India had just 3 GigaWatt (of solar energy). Today we have 33 GW of solar energy. It is huge.”
“India is going to achieve 100 GW of solar energy by 2022 i.e. in the next three years it will add 67 GW more of solar energy,” the minister said, pointing to the sharp fall in the prices of solar energy due to enhancement of capacity. “The prices (of solar energy) used to be Rs 20 per unit. Now, it is just 10 per cent of it,” he noted.
“All countries need to do it because the target of UNFCCC is to do away with use of all fossil fuels, not only coal. Therefore, we must be making efforts to increase the renewable energy capacity,” Javadekar said.
“We (India) have today 37 per cent energy capacity through renewables. We want to increase it because our energy demand is rising so we have decided to have 40 per cent of energy capacity through renewal energy – solar, wind, bio-waste,” he said. “Prime Minister Modi, when he was chief minister of Gujarat, had suggested in 2011 that we should launch this alliance, but there were not many takers at that time, but it happened in 2015 in Paris. France is cooperating and other countries too. I wish this International Solar Alliance very best,” Javadekar said. “When we meet in Glasgow next year, I am sure, there will be more progress in ISA,” he added.