International Solar Alliance (ISA) & United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) launch pilot projects on Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Use in 10 African Member Countries

Delhi, India | 27 March 2023: ISA and UNDP announced the launch of ISA’s first programme, Scaling Solar Applications for Agriculture Use (SSAAU), in ten African ISA Member Countries: Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Niger, Republic of Sudan, Senegal, South Sudan, Togo, Tuvalu, and Uganda. The programme is slated to be implemented over the next two years and will be financially supported with USD 2 million, which ISA and UNDP have jointly secured.

This pilot programme will provide agricultural workers with enhanced energy access and a sustainable irrigation solution through new and innovative solar water pumping systems deployment models. The larger goal of the initiative is to help Member Countries devise and implement large-scale projects and schemes to induct solar pumping technology in agricultural practices. This will help agriculture-based communities curb their carbon emissions and enjoy cost efficiencies.

Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, ISA, remarked, “Solar energy is the fastest-growing renewable energy source in Africa. This initiative has the potential to become the epitome of South-South cooperation and demand aggregation employing ISA’s convening power. I applaud this achievement which showcases both popularity and impact of ISA’s programmes and, in this case, the vision of its very first programme of implementing decentralised solar applications in rural settings in the form of solar water pumping systems (SWPs) and reinforcing it with technical assistance.”

Ms Shoko Noda, Resident Representative, UNDP India, highlighted that “Agrifood systems account for 31 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions globally. Expanding application of solar technologies in agriculture, especially in energy intensive areas like irrigation, will help reduce emissions while also enhancing farmer incomes. Through this partnership, ISA and UNDP will  promote solar applications in agriculture across 9 countries in Africa and Pacific islands.”

The broad avenues of collaboration will include exploring localised and innovative deployment models, pilot demonstration, skilling programmes and trainings for technical staff to build local capacity, developing best practices documents and detailing learnings from demonstration projects.


About the International Solar Alliance

The International Solar Alliance is an international organisation with 114 Member and Signatory countries. It works with governments to improve energy access and security worldwide and promote solar power as a sustainable transition to a carbon-neutral future. ISA’s mission is to unlock US$ 1 trillion of investments in solar by 2030 while reducing the cost of the technology and its financing. It promotes the use of solar energy in the Agriculture, Health, Transport and Power Generation sectors. ISA member countries are driving change by enacting policies and regulations, sharing best practices, agreeing on common standards, and mobilising investments. Through this work, ISA has identified and designed and tested new business models for solar projects; supported governments to make their energy legislation and policies solar-friendly through Ease of Doing Solar analytics and advisory; pooled demand for solar technology from different countries; and drove down costs; improved access to finance by reducing the risks and making the sector more attractive to private investment; increased access to solar training, data and insights for solar engineers and energy policymakers. With the signing and ratification of the ISA Framework Agreement by 15 countries on 6 December 2017, ISA became the first international intergovernmental organisation to be headquartered in India. ISA is partnering with multilateral development banks (MDBs), development financial institutions (DFIs), private and public sector organisations, civil society, and other international institutions to deploy cost-effective and transformational solutions through solar energy, especially in the least Developed Countries (LDCs) and the Small Island Developing States (SIDS).