ISA plans to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025

ISA plans to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025: Upendra Tripathy

Image result for upendra tripathyInternational Solar Alliance (ISA) is aiming to become self sustainable soon. Launched in 2015 on the sidelines of COP21, the alliance is implementing demand aggregation model to make large scale solar projects economically viable. Upendra Tripathy, Director General, ISA in an exclusive interaction with Ankush Kumar (ET Energy World) talks about the group’s key initiatives and long term plans. Edited excerpts.. 

Could you give us a break-up of the funds that you have raised so far? 
We have got a working budget of up to $4.5 million to be utilized until December this year. This money has come from the interest of the donations made by our partners. The government of India has given around $16 million to ISA which has been deposited in State Bank of India (SBI) and is giving around 7 per cent interest. Chinese solar company CLP has given us $1 million. SoftBank has given us $2 million. Indian PSUs and government organisations like SECIIREDA, NTPC, REC, PGCIL, CIL, PFC, ITPO have given us $1 million each. All of this works out to around $11 million. Therefore, with contribution from India which is 16 million and this $11 million we have a total of around $27 million. On all these donations we are getting an interest of around 7 per cent.

What is the future outlook on funding arrangements? 
The Government of India gave us $16 million in 2016 and it is giving $2.5 million every year for five years. The government has been giving us money for the past three years and that will stop after two years. As a host country, the government of India had initially promised up to Rs 400 crore. There are other global institutions we are able to attract investment from. The World Bank has given us $0.5 million and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is planning to give us $2 million. The European Union has given $300,000 to build Infopedia. It is an information platform which will have three parts. First, it will have 1,000 solar videos, then there will be a country counter where each country will showcase what best it has to offer for the industry. The third aspect is a communication platform where ministers, scientists, experts from 121 member countries can interact.

How much corpus do you think will be sufficient for ISA to become financially stable? What is the return on investment for the companies who donates to ISA? Do they have decision-making power too? 
Our long-term plan is to create a corpus of $1,000 million by 2025 with contributions which will give us an interest of up to $40million. So, once we have a corpus like this we will not need a membership fee. Once an organisation donates the money they can not take part in any decision on how ISA is utilizing it. As far as benefits to the companies for donating to ISA are concerned, we are open to provide the platform for engagements with our member countries which can be beneficial to them in many ways. Recently, the minister of Cuba wanted to meet all our corporate partners and we have facilitated that. Suppose the corporate partners have any issue with any country we can directly communicate to the minister in a particular country. We have a dedicated desk for the corporate partners. If they have any legal issues in any part of the world, we forward it to our national focal contact in that country.

You had earlier talked about an aggregation model for pitching large scale projects in other nations. How does this model work and what could be the core benefits? 
Beginning next month, we are going to organise a meeting of our partners. The idea is to actively engage and promote the ISA agenda which talks about pitching for large scale projects like home lighting systems and solar cookers by using the demand aggregation model. Through this, we aim to bring the cost of a home lighting system close to what a family pays for kerosene oil. Otherwise they will not buy. Through this aggregation model of demand, risk and capital, we can achieve universal energy access. We also need to establish institutions like a world solar bank which can be dedicated to providing financial assistance for solar projects.

Solid waste management is a critical area for sustainability. Do you think ISA, being a large and global organisation, can help in building a universal procedure for waste management?
We are trying to recommend to every member country that for every solar unit they generate, they should levy 0.001 per cent of that cost as cess and this should be accumulated as a solar fund. This fund should be used to treat solar waste as it gets generated. In 25 years, all these solar panels will be waste. So, the best thing is to prepare it for now. We will recommend to all these solar countries to create a solar waste fund and levy a sub-charge on solar electricity. We believe that the present generation, which is using solar energy, should make the future generations ready for this solar revolution.

Courtesy – ETEnergyWorld |By-Ankush Kumar | New Delhi | April 19, 2019

Solar Mission: India gets $1 billion loan from World Bank

Solar Mission: India gets $1 billion loan from World Bank

This is the bank’s largest financing of solar for any country in the world to date.

The World Bank Group has agreed to provide a loan of over $1 billion to support India’s ambitious initiatives to expand solar through investments in solar generation.

The announcement came as the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who emphasized the importance of adequate climate change financing for countries like India, which are consciously choosing to follow an environmentally sustainable path.

Dr. Kim appreciated India’s rapid progress in improving the ease of doing business and assured the Prime Minister that the World Bank would be proactive and fully support this agenda, said a government statement.

“These solar investments for India combined would be the Bank’s largest financing of solar for any country in the world to date,” said a statement from the World Bank.

“India’s plans to virtually triple the share of renewable energy by 2030 will both transform the country’s energy supply and have far-reaching global implications in the fight against climate change. The World Bank Group will do all it can to help India meet its ambitious targets, especially around scaling up solar energy,” said Dr. Kim adding that Mr. Modi’s personal commitment toward renewable energy, particularly solar, is the driving force behind these investments.

In keeping with the Bank’s commitment to support India’s solar energy programme, the Government of India and the World Bank on Thursday signed an agreement for the $625 million Grid Connected Rooftop Solar Program, said the World Bank statement adding that the project will finance the installation of at least 400 MW of solar Photovoltaic (PV) installations that will provide clean, renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by displacing thermal generation.

The development of a $200 million shared infrastructure for solar parks project under a public-private partnership model is also under preparation.

“The Bank’s support for India’s solar projects will increase the availability of financing, introduce new technologies, build capacity for solar rooftop units and enable the development of common infrastructure, which will support privately developed solar parks in a number of states across India,” the World Bank statement added.

Besides, the World Bank Group also signed an agreement with the International Solar Alliance (ISA), consisting of 121 countries led by India, to collaborate on increasing solar energy use around the world, with the goal of mobilising $1 trillion in investments by 2030.

The agreement signed in the presence of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Power Minister Piyush Goyal establishes the World Bank Group as a financial partner for the ISA and sees the institution as using its global development network, global knowledge and financing capacity to promote the use of solar energy.

The ISA was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November last year by Mr. Modi and French President François Hollande.

India is the largest client of the World Bank Group. Between 2015 and 2016, the Group lent around $4.8 billion to India.

NEW DELHI, June 30, 2016

Hollande visit gainful, Rafale or no Rafale -Claude Arpi

  Hollande visit gainful, Rafale or no Rafale

By-Claude Arpi

The French President was in India to take the next big step in the Rafale deal, but does this mark an end to the tortuous process for the mega purchase? The final contract hasn’t been made. Promises must be kept this time

How is one to assess the state visit of a foreign dignitary? After following for two days, the visit of President François Hollande of France in Delhi earlier this week, it was the question I asked myself.

In December 2010, when former French President Nicolas Sarkozy came to India; after the ritual signatures of agreements at Hyderabad House, while travelling in the bus taking us back to the Press room, a Press councellor to the President was grilled by the French journalists, they wanted ‘figures’. The official took his pen and started adding ‘figures’ and triumphantly announced ‘17 billion euros’.

The bulk of the then total was related to the ‘Jaitapur deal’ for two EPR nuclear plants from Areva of France. More than five years later, many projects, including the EPRs have not yet manifested (though the joint statement during this present visit mentions the possibility for six nuclear plants in Jaitapur).

The moral of the story is that  there is often a gap between ‘signed agreements’ and the reality of few years later. Things often take more time than expected in India. This raises the question of the ‘Rafale deal’.

Let us be clear, President Hollande did not come to India to discuss the change of climate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, though the Paris conference, for which France worked hard for several months, has been an example of fruitful collaboration.

Neither did the French President come to ride to Gurgaon in the metro to inaugurate a International Solar Alliance (with India as one of the main pillars). He also did not spend three days in India to promote Chandigarh, the first ‘smart city’ in India, built by the Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Mr Hollande came to India to take the next step in the Rafale deal.

Fourteen agreements were announced at Hyderabad House after the talks between the Indian Prime Minister and the French President. Listed first was a memorandum of understanding between India and France for the purchase of 36 Rafale aircraft; it was signed by Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French Defence Minister and Manohar Parrikar, his Indian counterpart.

Does this mark the end of the tortuous process for the mega deal?  No, though the initial Request for Information had been announced in 2001, 15 years ago! Six years later, a complex Request for Proposal was issued by the then Defence Minister AK Antony, who added new clauses and ‘complicated’ the issue. Five years later, Dassault Aviation was selected for supplying 126 planes (with transfer of technology to Hindustan Aeronautics) to the Indian Air Force.

Realising the difficulty of the project and to avoid going back to the starting blocks, last April in Paris, Mr Modi opted for 36 planes off-the-shelf. On Monday, commentators were quick to point that the process had not come to a conclusion.

Mr Modi and Mr Hollande did not agree on the final contract which should include not only the price of the planes, the cost of their maintenance, the required armament, the training of the pilots and mechanics etc, all this still needs to be finalised. Mr Hollande said it would be done in ‘a few days’; some of his collaborators spoke more prudently of ‘a few weeks’, while Dassault, the constructor announced ‘four weeks’.

Will it go the way the 2010 EPR framework agreement between Areva and National Thermal Power Corporation Limited went or will the promises be kept this time? Though the price offered by Dassault and what India is ready to pay still has a wide gap, both sides seem determined to finalise the project as soon as possible. From the Indian side, the IAF immediately needs these two squadrons (while praying for a third one!) and from the French side, though Dassault’s position is radically different from one year ago, being in a better position to negotiate, with an order book full after Egypt and Qatar selected the fighter plane (and with Saudi and Malaysia ready to sign), the French firm would like to conclude the deal.

The big change is that after the visit, Mr Modi and Mr Hollande are determined, and this should help to finalise the price and other technical details (according to some sources, there could be an option for 18 more planes); it then could get done during the following months, if not weeks.

Several members of the French delegation (including a senior Minister) privately admitted that Mr Modi is ‘different’ from his predecessors; he is a doer ‘with whom we can talk’. The Prime Minister used his personal charm, not only when he went to receive Mr Hollande in Chandigarh, a symbol of the India-French collaboration, but also when he invited for the first time since independence, foreign troops to participate in the Republic Day parade; these troops were French soldiers of the 35 Infantry Regiment, who had recently participated in the Shakti-2016 joint exercises with the two Garhwal Rifles of the Indian Army in Bikaner, Rajasthan. The 35 Infantry Regiment is one of the most decorated units of the French Army, presently associated with the seven Armoured Brigade. Its 1,200 men and women are famed as the best infantry troops in France. The way the contingent of 76 were cheered by the on Rajpath on the Republic Day, was telling.

Another point of closeness is that France, like India, has lately been a victim of terrorism. As the French Government was recovering from the November 13 horrific attack and commemorating the killings of several journalists of Charlie Hebdo, the symbol of the French liberté of expression, attackers from the other side of the Indian border, stepped into the Pathankot air base and created havoc for nearly three days.

A joint communiqué after the meet at Hyderabad House affirmed: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President François Hollande strongly condemned the heinous terrorist attacks that have struck many parts of the world recently and expressed their shared anguish and outrage at the loss of innocent lives in Paris, Bamako, Beirut, Tunis, San Bernardino, N’Djamena and the Lake Chad Basin Region, Kabul, Gurdaspur, Istanbul, Pathankot, Jalalabad, Jakarta, Ouagadougou and Charsadda.”

Both leaders affirmed that such terror attacks were an attack on the whole of humanity and foundational human values. But more powerful, for the first time, Pakistan was expressively and strongly named: “Stressing that terrorism cannot be justified under any circumstance, both leaders asked for decisive actions to be taken against Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, Jaish-e-Mohammed,  Hizbul Mujahideen, Haqqani network and other terrorist groups such as the Al Qaeda.”

This is indeed a serious basis to take the 1998 strategic partnership to a much deeper level, and in a few months time, the Rafale deal should be the cherry on the cake of a successful visit and a new deeper partnership.

Courtesy- The Pioneer |28 January 2016 |

Modi launches International Solar Alliance-G. Ananthakrishnan

Modi launches International Solar Alliance

By G. Ananthakrishnan

The new body, which has invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join, is to function from the National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon.

India launched an International Solar Alliance (ISA) at the CoP21 Climate Conference here on Monday, with an announcement by Prime Minister Modi that the revolution in the field would bring power to all citizens, and create unlimited economic opportunity.

The new body, which has invited all countries located fully or partly between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join, is to function from the National Institute of Solar Energy in India, Gurgaon. The Centre will provide land and $30 million to form a secretariat for the Alliance, and also support it for five years, the Prime Minister said at an event that was co-chaired with him by French President Francois Hollande.

In its launch resolution, the ISA says it seeks to share collective ambitions to reduce the cost of finance and technology that is needed to deploy solar power widely; generation and storage technologies would be adapted to the individual countries’ needs.

Among the tasks that the Alliance would pursue are, cooperation in training, building institutions, regulatory issues, common standards, and investment including joint ventures.

Addressing a packed audience, which was treated to visuals and a song on the theme, Mr.Modi said solar had created a revolution, as costs had declined sharply, technology continued to evolve and grid connectivity was improving. The response from industry was also encouraging. The Prime Minister presented “Convenient Action”, a book he has written on the Gujarat experience with solar energy and a music CD with songs on the environment to Mr. Hollande.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the United Nations would work closely with the ISA and commended India’s success in adopting the technology, as witnessed in the solar projects in Gujarat.

Union Minister of State for Power Piyush Goyal presented the goals of the ISA contained in its resolution.