International Solar Alliance drops limits on membership
New Delhi: India, a founding member of the International Solar Alliance, on Friday said that membership of the body will be thrown open to all countries that want to join the grouping, with no restrictions on duration of sunlight or geographical location.
Briefing reporters ahead of the International Solar Alliance summit in New Delhi on Sunday, Nagaraj Naidu, joint secretary in the foreign ministry, said that a recent meeting of the steering committee of the grouping in New Delhi had decided that “going forward, they (International Solar Alliance) will open it up and invite all countries that are keen to join the International Solar Alliance to become a member of the International Solar Alliance”.
When the International Solar Alliance was announced in 2015, 121 nations situated between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn and receiving 300 days of sunlight were deemed eligible for membership.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron will be formally launching the International Solar Alliance on Sunday. Sixty countries had signed up to join the International Solar Alliance, Naidu said, adding that 30 countries had ratified the provisions of the alliance so far.
Heads of state or government from 23 countries including France, Australia and Sri Lanka will attend Sunday’s conference being co-hosted by India and France to promote solar energy.
Besides the 23 heads of state, senior country representatives, including deputy prime ministers and energy ministries, have confirmed their participation, Naidu said.
The conference will focus on promoting solar energy, including through credit mechanisms and sharing of technology.
According to Naidu, the International Solar Alliance “is planning to get all the multilateral development banks to support the cause of the International Solar Alliance. Increasingly, the International Solar Alliance is appealing to these development banks if they could set aside a particular percentage of their loan portfolio to fund renewable energy projects worldwide.”
Ahead of Sunday’s conference, the European Investment Bank announced it was providing €1 billion as support for the International Solar Alliance.
“Solar power is providing clean energy for millions of people around the world and solar energy now represents the single largest source of new power generation. The fate of this planet depends on continuing to expand the use of renewable energy to support sustainable economic growth. This can be achieved through improved access to energy alongside scaling up a viable alternative to fossil fuels. The European Investment Bank welcomes the vision of the International Solar Alliance to ensure those countries most vulnerable to climate change can harness the proven potential of solar power,” said European Investment Bank president Werner Hoyer said in a statement.