Modi and Hollande launch International Solar Alliance

Madeleine Cuff

Indian and French premiers unveil global alliance of more than 100 countries dedicated to accelerating development and deployment of global solar technology

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has today announced a major global solar deployment initiative, which will bring more than 100 countries together in a bid to boost the development and deployment of solar technology around the world.

The solar "club" - launched by Modi alongside French president François Hollande today on the sidelines of the COP21 Summit in Paris - will see countries work together to share resources and best practices to support the deployment of solar technologies. The leaders argued the creation of larger solar markets would allow for better technology diffusion, faster costs reductions, and more rapid adoption of policy best practices.

Most of the countries signed up to the group are located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, although several European nations - including France and the Netherlands - have also promised to participate.

Speaking at the launch today, Modi said the new alliance would make solar energy cheaper, more reliable and easier to connect to the grid for developing countries. "There is already a revolution in solar energy. Technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connection is improving," he said. "This day is the sunrise of new hope, not just for clean energy but for villages and homes still in darkness."

Modi, who has spearheaded the initiative, said India would contribute $30m to build the Alliance's organisational strcutures over the next five years, including a commitment to construct a new headquarters for the group in New Delhi.

The initiative will support India's Solar Mission, which aims to mobilise billions of dollars of investment in new solar projects in the country over the next five years. It will also fuel hopes India is willing to support an ambitious Paris Agreement, following recent reports suggesting the government could oppose some of the proposals designed to strengthen any deal that are being put forward by a number of industrialised nations.

Jennifer Morgan, global director of the WRI's Climate Program, welcomed the new inititiative, arguing collaboration between developed and developing countries is critical to boosting universal energy access. "This bold effort could bring affordable solar power to tropical villages and communities worldwide," she said in a statement.

This article is part of BusinessGreen's Road to Paris hub, hosted in association with PwC.

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