During the recently held sixth assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) presided by the Union Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, the assembly decided to raise the viability gap funding (VGF) for solar projects in member countries from 10 per cent to up to 35 per cent of the project cost. This adjustment considers the capacities and specific requirements of each country and their respective solar projects. France has extended substantial financial support for solar projects, contributing to the establishment of the Onigbolo solar power plant in Benin, delivering 25 MW of clean energy to the population of Benin. There was also an emphasis on the significance of aiding partner countries in their energy transition strategies.
Furthermore, the director general of ISA emphasised the urgency of expediting the implementation of solar energy, especially in developing nations and for purposes that improve the daily lives of those lacking consistent access to energy. During the assembly, discussions encompassed the ISA’s initiatives, which involve the creation of solar mini-grids aimed at ensuring universal energy access, along with strategies to entice private sector investments utilising guarantees from the global solar facility.
ISA launched demonstration projects in May 2020 specifically aimed at showcasing scalable solar technology applications and enhancing the capabilities of beneficiary member countries, particularly in the least developed countries and small island developing states. Four projects have been initiated, comprising the solarisation of the parliament building in the Republic of Malawi, the solarisation of healthcare centers in Fiji, the establishment of solar-powered cold storage in Seychelles, and the solarisation of a school in Kiribati.
The minister emphasised that the ISA has become a positive influence in the world, aiming to achieve the dual objectives of facilitating energy transition and ensuring widespread access to energy resources. The assembly deliberated on the potential replication of successful energy access and transition strategies, drawing from the practices implemented by India, within developing nations. The minister also emphasised the significance of developed countries fulfilling their COP21 commitments by providing green funds.