International Solar Alliance Assembly for the 6th Session: A Solar-Powered Vision for Energy Transition

India hopes to provide affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy to all through the objectives of ISA.

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New Delhi, October 18, 2023: The International Solar Alliance (ISA) set the stage for its 6th session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly in a grand curtain-raiser event held in Delhi on Wednesday. Scheduled to run from October 30 to November 2, the Assembly promises to be a pivotal moment for global discussions on renewable energy, particularly solar power.

At the heart of the event was RK Singh, India’s Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy and the President of the ISA. In his opening remarks, Minister Singh celebrated India’s exceptional growth in renewable energy capacity. He proudly claimed, “The growth rate of renewable capacity in India has perhaps been one of the highest in the world, if not the highest.”

The 6th ISA Assembly is set to be presided over by President RK Singh and is expected to host ministers, missions, and delegates from 116 Member and Signatory Countries of the ISA. In addition, prospective countries, partner organisations, the private sector, and various stakeholders are expected to attend this landmark event. It is worth noting that the ISA was established as a joint initiative by India and France following the COP21 conference in Paris.

Key Themes on the Agenda

The upcoming ISA Assembly will focus on several critical themes that will shape the future of solar energy and its impact on global energy dynamics:

  1. Universalization of Energy Access through Solar Mini-Grids: One of the primary topics of discussion will be the expansion of energy access through the deployment of solar mini-grids, particularly in areas with limited access to electricity.
  2. Mobilising Finance for Accelerated Solar Deployment: Financial discussions will revolve around securing the necessary funding to expedite the widespread adoption of solar energy worldwide.
  3. Diversifying Supply Chains and Manufacturing for Solar: Given the growing significance of solar technology, delegates will delve into strategies for diversifying supply chains and promoting domestic manufacturing.

In a subsequent press conference held in New Delhi, President RK Singh emphasised the critical role of solar energy in advancing the global energy transition. “Our experience shows that among renewable sources, solar has the edge; it is much more dependable, reliable, and available for more months of the year,” Minister Singh asserted. He also highlighted the versatility of solar energy, citing its adaptability for small-scale projects that facilitate energy access.

“When we launched our campaign for universal access to energy, solar played a major role. Using solar, we lit up many homes in the hills and deserts. It can be deployed for specific villages in mini-grids. Solar is the solution for universal access. That is what makes ISA important,” Minister Singh explained.

Minister Singh underscored the primary mission of ISA, which is to provide energy to countries and people without access to it. “The challenge lies in providing energy to the 750 million people who do not have access to energy. The conscience of the world needs to be stirred. Even in the past 5–6 years of ISA’s existence, we don’t see countries capable of helping these 750 million people. Our mission in ISA is to bring together countries to help those deprived of energy access,” said Minister Singh.

Minister Singh emphasised that energy access is crucial for any meaningful energy transition. “We cannot have an energy transition without energy access. And access has to be clean, as it should not be at the cost of the planet,” he emphasized. The ISA has been actively advising countries on electrification using solar, setting up regulatory structures, and facilitating the deployment of solar technology.

ISA’s Expanding Global Footprint

Dr. Ajay Mathur, the Director General of the International Solar Alliance, highlighted the organisation’s achievements and plans. Dr. Mathur revealed that ISA is currently supporting the growth of 9.5 GW of solar energy projects worldwide and is committed to the institutional development necessary for these projects. He also announced plans to create more STAR-C centres to develop national solar programmes within member countries.

In his address, Dr. Mathur emphasised the substantial investment in solar energy, expecting to reach $380 billion in 2023. He noted that solar investment is outpacing other forms of renewable energy, including hydro, which remains essential for grid stability.

Dr. Mathur revealed ISA’s plans to conduct a solar stocktake to complement the global stocktake at COP28, emphasising the organisation’s role in supporting the tripling of renewable energy goals. He also discussed upcoming programmes, such as Solar for She, to promote women’s participation in the solar sector.

High-Level Conference and Flagship Reports

ISA has scheduled a High-level Conference on New Technologies for Clean Energy Transition in collaboration with the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, the Asian Development Bank, and the International Solar Energy Society on November 1, 2023. The conference will address various climate change and solar energy deployment issues.

Furthermore, ISA plans to release three flagship reports:

  • World Solar Technology Report 2023: This report focuses on solar photovoltaics, highlighting advancements in crystalline silicon technology.
  • The World Solar Market Report 2023 offers a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the solar market.
  • World Solar Investment Report 2023: Discussing the surge in global solar investments in 2022 and the need for an inclusive energy transition

With the 6th ISA Assembly drawing near, the international community is eager to harness the power of solar energy to address energy access, security, and transitions on a global scale. The ISA remains at the forefront of this transformative journey, uniting nations to pursue clean and sustainable energy solutions.