International Solar Alliance (ISA)

International Solar Alliance (ISA) is a group of 121 countries that mainly lies, completely or partially, between tropic of cancer and tropic of Capricorn. The main aim behind the International solar alliance is to use solar energy in spite of energy based on fossil fuels. This initiative was mainly propagated by the Indian Prime minister Shri. Narendra Modi with the close cooperation of France president Emmanuel Macron. The alliance is a treaty-based International organization. Membership of the international solar alliance is not only limited to the countries between tropic of cancer and tropic of Capricorn but also other countries but without voting rights. ISA is the second largest group After United Nations (UN). This Initiative was launched by the India during India-Africa summit (in India) before UNFCC 2015 conference.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is also known as the International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA).

The headquarter of ISA is in Gurugram (India).


In this article, we will discuss the following Point:

  • The objective of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • Guiding principle and Goal for members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • Initiatives taken Under ISA.
  • Future targets.
  • Progress under ISA
  • Challenges face by ISA


The objective of the International Solar Alliance:

The focus is on the utilization of solar energy. The launching of such an alliance in Paris also sends a strong signal to the global communities that how many developing nations are serious about climate change and to switch to a development path which is based on low emission of greenhouse gas emission. To meet the National determine Contribution (NDC) under the Paris climate deal, India decided a target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy out of which 100 GW will be solar energy by 2022 and reduction in emission intensity by 33–35% by 2030 to ensure that solar energy will reach to the most unconnected villages and communities and a clean planet. It also meets the India commitment of 40% requirement of energy from non-fossil fuel.


ISA’s vision: To enable One World, One Sun, One Grid


Guiding Principles for Member countries:

  • To collectively address key common challenges of  scale-up solar energy applications in line with their needs;
  • To mobilize Fund for green ecological investments of more than USD 1000 billion by 2030.
  • Facilitate collaborative research and development (R&D) activities in solar energy technologies and transfer among member countries so that use for the betterment of humankind.
  • Promote a common digital platform for networking, cooperation, and sharing of ideas among member countries.
  • Scale-up application of Solar energy in areas which have full potential but lack in resource and technology.
  • Promote the use of applications based on Solar energy.


Initiative taken Under ISA:

International solar alliance with the cooperation of World Bank has launched Global Solar Atlas at ISA event in World Energy Summit at Abu Dhabi. The global solar atlas shows the potential of solar energy at any location of the world for the generation of solar power plants. These Atlas help countries to reduce expenditure to find out potential solar energy locations and also provide a compatible location to private investors for their investment in Solar Energy.


Geographical Importance of Solar Alliance:

The area of Earth located in between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn is called the tropical (torrid) zone. This area of earth experiences the sun directly overhead for most of the time that means a high potential for solar energy to generate; Anywhere above or below this, the angle of the sun rays gets slanted that’s why the intensity of sun rays are very low beyond this region. It diminishes the possibility of high potential solar energy  The sunniest countries of the world are on the African continent, ranging from Somalia- the Horn of Africa, east to Niger, west and north to Egypt.

India targeted to improve its solar energy potential by cooperating with African countries. It will not only improve the lives of people in Africa but also meet India and the Global demand for a reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions.


Future Targets of International Alliance:

India had invited countries for solar projects, the cooperation of France was also with India. Both countries are committed to helping poor developing countries with finance, infrastructure, technology, human capital, etc. This commitment of India towards the use of solar energy is also seen in the target to achieve 100 GW out of 175GW from solar energy till 2022. It also acts united among the developing nations for research and development in solar energy and its use welfare of people.

Somehow ISA is also seen as a positive sign towards the goal of the Paris Climate deal to meet Global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial level in the 21st century. In the future, more other countries will join it to make International Solar Alliance a Global alliance to improve Use of solar energy. India and France continuously working through the United nation (UN) and various diplomatic channels to include other developing and developed countries outside the toroid zone into the International Solar alliance.


Progress under International Solar Alliance:

In June 2016, the International Solar Alliance came with a memorandum of understanding with the World Bank to provide finance to developing countries. Bank will have more role to mobilize more than $1 trillion investment by 2020. Till date, 74 countries have signed and 52 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of the ISA. The International Solar Alliance was also legally recognized by the UN. At the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) held in Abu Dhabi in January 2018, the government of India announced the establishment of a $350 million solar development fund to ensure financing to low developing countries.


Challenges in Front of International Solar Alliance:

  • The installation cost of solar energy is high which makes it unattractive in less developed countries where other sources such as coal-based thermal plants are cheaper.
  • The high tariff rate on solar production instruments by America and china hamper its growth.
  • Opportunities for human resources are not clear to attract youth to acquire the skills.
  • Lack of storage capacity of solar energy is also a challenge in front of the International Solar Alliance.
  • Research and development in the field of solar are not so sufficient to the requirement of the whole world and also very costly.


Steps need to be taken:

  • Need to reduce tariff on solar products and adopt open and fair trade policy.
  • Funding should be given to the research and development of new methods of harnessing solar energy.
  • Need to innovate new method energy storage so that energy will be stored for long period.
  • Global cooperation is required as the need for solar was of the whole world.
  • Enhance skills of human capital in that field.
  • Make solar energy initiatives more attractive for poor countries so that they will adopt these technologies.


At last, ISA can be a platform for achieving global sustainable development by achieving energy security, environmental sustainability, and social upliftment of vulnerable people.


Click here to visit the official website of International Solar Alliance


This article is written by;

Mr. Sachin

Selected as Assistant Commandant (UPSC CAPF 2019)

Also appeared for Civil Services Interview

Email: [email protected]