The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. This initiative was first proposed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a speech in November 2015 at Wembley Stadium, in which he referred to sunshine countries as Suryaputra ("Sons of the Sun"). The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.
The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the India Africa Summit, and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015. The framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, and 121 countries have joined.
It is to be headquartered in India. In January 2016, Narendra Modi, and the French President François Hollande jointly laid the foundation stone of the ISA Headquarters and inaugurated the interim Secretariat at the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gwalpahari, Gurugram, India. The Indian government has dedicated five acres of land on the NISE campus for its future headquarters; it also has contributed ₹1.75 billion (US$27 million) to the fund to build a campus and for meeting expenditures for the first five years.
The alliance is also called International Agency for Solar Policy and Application (IASPA).
The focus is on solar power utilization. The launching of such an alliance in Paris also sends a strong signal to the global communities about the sincerity of the developing nations towards their concern about climate change and to switch to a low-carbon growth path. India has pledged a target of installing 100GW by 2022 and reduction in emission intensity by 33–35% by 2030 to let solar energy reach to the most unconnected villages and communities and also towards creating a clean planet. India's pledge to the Paris summit offered to bring 40% of its electricity generation capacity (not actual production) from non-fossil sources (renewable, large hydro, and nuclear) by 2030. it is based on world co operation.
The area of Earth located in between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn is called the tropical (torrid) zone. The points on the Tropic of Cancer are the northernmost points up to which the Sun can pass directly overhead. Similarly, the southernmost points are on the Tropic of Capricorn which follow the same criteria. Location at the north of the Tropic of Cancer shows the Sun appearing at the south of the zenith. The sunniest countries of the world are on the African continent, ranging from Somalia- Horn of Africa-, east to Niger, west and north to Egypt.
The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. The framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, on the sidelines of the Marrakech Climate Change Conference (the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties, or COP 22). On its first day (15 November), sixteen countries signed the Agreement: India, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Dominican Republic, the Republic of Guinea, Mali; Nauru; Niger; Tanzania; Tuvalu; Cambodia; Ethiopia; Burkina Faso; Bangladesh and Madagascar. By 17 November, Guinea Bissau, Fiji, France, On November 6, 2017 India ' s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held a meeting with Guinea’s Foreign Minister, Mamady Toure. During the course of this meeting, Mamady Toure handed over Guinea’s Instrument of Accession to the India-initiated International Solar Alliance (ISA). Vanuatu and Liberia also signed the agreement.
Subsequently, an additional 107 countries joined the agreement, including all major countries that lie between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, including Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, India, Australia, New Zealand, and China. A conclave started from 30 November 2015 for the sunshine grouping, called the InSPA (International Agency for Solar Policy & Application).
The alliance has partnered with World Bank to launch Global Solar Atlas at an ISA event at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Global Solar Atlas is a free online tool that displays annual average solar power potential at any location in the world and thus identify potential sites for solar power generation. World Bank announced "This tool will help governments save millions of dollars on their own research and provide investors and solar developers with an easily accessible and uniform platform to compare resource potential between sites in one region or across multiple countries."
Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of the World Bank’s Energy & Extractives Global Practice said “The World Bank is seeing a surge of interest from our clients in solar power as a result of the dramatic cost decreases over the past few years. We hope that the Global Solar Atlas will help inform the crucial planning and investment decisions that will need to be taken over the next decade to shift to more sustainable forms of energy.” Piyush Goyal, Power Minister of India said “This new tool will assist governments and investors to obtain an initial indication of solar resource potential before carrying out their own more detailed analysis.”
India, with the support of France, has invited nations to facilitate infrastructure for implementation of solar projects. The alliance has been committed $1 tn as investment, and it is committed to making the costs of solar power more affordable for remote and inaccessible communities. The alliance will endorse India in achieving its goal of generating 100GW of solar energy and 175GW of renewable energy by 2022. The countries shall support each other in research and development as well as other high level activities.
It is also seen as an alliance by the developing countries to form a united front and to undertake research and development for making solar power equipment within developing countries.
On June 30, 2016, the alliance entered into an understanding with the World Bank for accelerating mobilization of finance for solar energy. The Bank will have a major role in mobilizing more than US $1000 billion in investments that will be needed by 2030, to meet ISA’s goals for the massive deployment of affordable solar energy. Till date 48 countries have signed and 26 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of the ISA. With ratifications by 15 countries, the ISA will become a treaty based inter-governmental international organisation and it will be recognize by UN legally to become fully functionable.
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 enable financing of solar projects.