PM Modi, Macron make joint push for solar energy

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On the sidelines of the International Solar Alliance, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the focus of the meeting was on capacity building. The vision being that by 2023, 10 percent of their power generation will be done via renewable energy sources.

By the end of 2018, Saudi Arabia has ambitions to invest up to $7 billion to develop seven new solar plants and a big wind farm. "It is also about improving public procurement and to provide efficient policies", he said, urging nations to facilitate purchase and supply of electricity generated from solar energy.

Interestingly, France is the co-host for the founding conference of the the ISA which is a treaty based global body with 121 prospective member countries.

The International Solar Alliance is a treaty-based international body for the promotion of efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Of these, 61 have signed the framework agreement and 32 have also submitted their instruments of ratification.

The ministry of external affairs (MEA) later said India had "taken the lead internationally". As much as 20-50 per cent of the population do not have access to power, he said.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a unified effort for promoting solar energy and said the Alliance would help to achieve greater global energy security.

The President has pledged the commitment of his government to increase the contribution of the solar energy to the country's energy mix.

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It was also underlined that it would be the "endeavour" of the ISA Member States to achieve sustainability by generating growth, enhancing skills and creating jobs and unleashing entrepreneurship by fostering innovation and increasing incomes. While addressing worldwide delegates, PM Modi said "Veda's consider the sun as the soul of the world; it has been considered as a life nurturer".

Macron told world leaders in Paris in December that "we are losing the battle" against climate change and urged faster action to combat global warming.

The idea of forming an alliance of countries between the tropics - which enjoy an abundance of sunshine that can be harnessed for producing clean and affordable power - was mooted by Modi in 2015, months before the Paris climate summit in November as TOI first reported on September 3 that year. The summit was co-hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron.

Modi, who welcomed Macron with a bear hug on his arrival Friday, said the accord was crucial as the Indian Ocean region would play a "very significant role" in the days to come.

To help in rolling out the finances, five multilateral financial institutions - the African Development Bank (AfDb), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Green climate fund (GCF), and the New Development Bank (NDB) - signed joint financial partnership declarations with ISA on March 10 in the presence of India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The energy-hungry giant of 1.25bn people is banking on solar to electrify homes for hundreds of millions of its poorest citizens without adding to its considerable emissions output. The first one, called scaling solar applications for agricultural use, aims to promote solar water pumps instead of diesel pumps for irrigation to benefit both farmers and the environment.

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