India, France Boosting Solar Power Generation

India, France Boosting Solar Power GenerationIndia, France Boosting Solar Power Generation

India and France have joined hands to spearhead a global "solar revolution" with the aim of generating 1 terawatt of energy by 2030, an ambitious goal that requires $1 trillion.

"There are financial and regulation hurdles and capacity hurdles," said visiting French President Emmanuel Macron at the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance in Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh state, on Sunday, Nikkei Asian Review reported.

He added that private and public sectors and society needed to come together to overcome these challenges.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the chief architect of ISA that he launched with French ex-president, Francois Hollande, in Paris in November 2015 during a convention on climate change.

The alliance involves 121 prospective member-countries that fall between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, and are exposed to the "maximum solar intensity of over 300 days a year," according to a bureaucrat at the Indian External Affairs Ministry.

ISA aims to facilitate the large-scale deployment of solar energy in those countries that are home to 73% of the world's population—by aggregating the demand for funding, technology and innovation.

So far, 62 countries have signed the ISA framework agreement, out of which 32 have already ratified it. Australia, Bangladesh, Cuba, France, Ghana, India, Papua New Guinea, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Togo, the UAE and Venezuela are among those that have ratified the agreement.

These nations, Macron said, have 138 gigawatt of solar power potential over the next five years.

"Depending on the countries, 20-50% of population do not have access to electricity," he said, pointing to the pent-up demand. 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 estimated cost of these projects is $1.4 billion.

Separately, Macron and Modi on Monday inaugurated a 100-megawatt solar power plant built by French firm ENGIE in Mirzapur, a key step in meeting the target of 100 gigawatt of electricity in India from solar energy by 2022.

Macron applauded India's efforts in expanding renewable energy capacity within two years, from 39 GW to 63 GW, with solar energy growing up by 140%.

"France has already met its 2015 pledge of providing €300 million ($369 million) to ISA member countries, and the French development agency will allocate an additional €700 million to its solar energy commitments by 2022," he said.

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