International Solar Alliance vision to contribute to global sustainable development

11 March 2018

IEA and ISA sign cooperation agreement. From left to right: Mr. Keisuke Sadamori, IEA Director of Energy Markets and Security; Mr. Tripathy, ISA Interim Director-General; Mr. Arun Jaitley, Indian Finance Minister; and Mr. R. K. Singh, Indian Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy. (Photograph: IEA)

On the occasion of the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi on 11 March, analysis from the International Energy Agency demonstrates that the ISA’s vision to mobilize more than USD 1000 billion of investment by 2030 for the deployment of solar energy at affordable costs is ambitious yet achievable.

The IEA’s market forecasts show that if all eligible countries join the Alliance, then the cumulative installed solar capacity in ISA countries could surpass 700 GW by 2022, which is more than 80% of global solar capacity by that time, and almost double current capacity. This achievement would be a critical step in aligning global solar deployment with the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS) targets. 

In the view of the IEA, the ISA can play a particularly important role in further accelerating deployment and reducing costs of solar in developing countries, where investment risks remain one of the main barriers. Moreover, ISA can be crucial in accelerating energy access, with potential positive impacts improving the quality of life of hundreds of million of people.

The IEA commends the objectives of the ISA to create aggregated demand for solar PV and mitigate investment risk. Financial risk management approaches are most effective when they are complemented by transparent and sound regulatory and policy frameworks for investment. The IEA strongly supports any plans to provide clarity to regulatory issues, promote common standards, attract investment and develop innovative financing models.

 “Let me congratulate Indian Prime Minister Modi and French President Macron for their global leadership in pushing for much more ambitious deployment of solar energy,” said Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA. “We have seen very encouraging signs recently, with massive cost reductions and solar energy additions growing faster than any other electricity source. But progress is uneven and deployment in many developing countries is still hampered by high investment risk and system costs. ISA can play a key role in addressing these issues and accelerating solar deployment and energy access.”

Introduced in the World Energy Outlook 2017, the IEA’s SDS sets out a pathway to achieve the key energy related components of the United Nations Sustainable Development agenda: universal access to modern energy by 2030, urgent action to tackle climate change - in line with the Paris agreement, and measures to improve air quality.  

The IEA is honoured to be an observer to the ISA since April 2017 and to support the Alliance in achieving its ambitious objectives. To this end, the IEA and ISA signed a Joint Declaration on Global Cooperation on the Promotion of Solar Energy on 10 March in the presence of Indian Finance Minister, Mr Arun Jaitley and Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Mr R. K. Singh.


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