His Excellency President Macron, His Excellencies Presidents and Prime Ministers, Distinguish Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Greetings, I heartily welcome all of you in Delhi in the founding conference of International Solar Alliance.
The seed for this historic day today was sown during the 21st Conference of Parties in November 2015 in Paris. Today, the green shoots of that seed have sprouted.
France has played an invaluable role in the new possibilities of this young sapling. This young sapling of International Solar Alliancehad not been planted without the collective effort and commitment of all of you. And therefore I’m extremely grateful to France and to all of you. Sixty one of the 121potential countries have joined the alliance. Thirty two of them have also ratified the Framework Agreement. However, in this alliance,in addition to all of uspartner countries;the SunGod is our biggest ally who has been providing light to the outside environment and strength to our resolve.
The Sun has been giving light and life to this world formillions and millions of years ago, even before the birth of life on this earth. Every civilization from Japan to Peru, be it Greece or Rome, Egypt or the Inca and ancient the Maya civilization, all have given importance and respect to the Sun.
However, the central place assigned to the Sun in the Indian philosophy thousands of years ago is unprecedented.
In India, theSun was considered the soul of the world in Vedas thousands of years ago. In India, the Sun has been considered as the source of the entire life. Today, when we have been trying to find the ways to tackle the challenge of climate change then we shall have to look at the comprehensive approach and balance of the ancient philosophy.
Our green future depends onthe fact,that what can we do together.I’m reminded of the words of Mahatma Gandhi:‘The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems’.
Today, the presence of the leaders from all over the worldhere is a reflection of the fact that the solar energy provides an effective and reasonable solution to meet the energy needs of mankind in a sustainable way.
We have started the world’s largest renewable energy expansion programme in India. We will produce 175 gig wattsof electricity from renewable sources and 100 gigawatts of electricity production of that will be from solar energy.
We have already achieved the target of 20 gigawatts ofinstalled solar power capacity. In India, more capacity is being added through renewable sources than through the traditional sources of energy.
The objective of the Atal Jyoti Scheme in India is to install solar energy based street lights in those areas where there is a shortage of electricity.Solar Study Lamp Scheme has been providing light to seven million school going children.
The results can be even better if we link the solar energy with other technologies. For example, the distribution of 28 crore LED Bulbs by the government not only saved more than $2 billion in the last three years but it also saved 4 gig wattsof electricity. It’s not just that, generation of carbon dioxide was also reduced by 30 million tones.
We seek a solar revolution not just in India but also in the entire world. You have seen the songs, speeches and videos of the Solar Mamas trained in India. Now you people are verywell familiar with these Solar Mamas. Their story is inspiring in itself.
We are happy that in addition to making the contribution in the ISA Corpus Fund an amount of $62 million has been provided for the establishment of ISA Secretariat. I’m happy to announce that every year we will provide 500 training slots to ISA members in the field of solar energy.
We have either completed 13 solar projects worth $143 million dollar in the entire world or they are in the process of being implemented. India is going to provide an assistance of $1.4 billion to 27 more projects in 15 other developing countries.
We have set up a projects preparation facility which will provide consultancy support to partner countries for designing bankable projects.
Today, I’m also happy to announce that India will also start a Solar Technology Mission to bridge the gap in the field of solar technology. This mission will have an international focus and it will provide leadership to the R&D efforts in the field of solar technology by putting together all our governmental, technical and educational institutions.
The development and use of solar energy which is available in abundance like air will certainly reduce the carbon footprint on the earth in addition to making us prosperous.
We will have to keep certain things in mind. And these are: on the one hand there are a lot of countries where sun shines throughout the year but the lack of resources and technology acts as an impediment, acts as a hurdle in the use solar energy.
On the other hand there are such islands and countries which face direct threat to their existence due to the impact of climate change. Thirdly, not just for the light but solar energy can be equally useful in several other areas like transportation, clean cooking, in agriculture, solar pumps and health care.
Availability and development of technology, financial resources, reduction in the cost, development of storage technology, mass manufacturing and an entire eco-system for innovation is extremely essential in order to encourage the use of solar energy.
We all have to think what the way forward is. There are ten action points in my mind that I would like to share with you today. First of all, we will have to ensure that a better and affordable solar technology should be easily and conveniently available to all.
We will have to increase the proportion of solar energy in our energy mix. We will have to encourage the innovation so that the solar solutions can be provided for several requirements.
We will have to provide concessional financing and less risky finance for solar projects. We will have to develop such regulatory aspects and standards that can provide a new momentum to the development and adoption of solar solutions. Development of consultancy support for bankable solar projects in developing countries will be essential.
More inclusiveness and partnership should be stressed upon in our efforts. We should create a comprehensive network of centers of excellence that can take into account the local factors and situations. We should look at solar energy policy in the totality of development so that it can make the maximum contribution in achieving the SDGs. We should make the ISA Secretariat strong and professional.
I am confident that we will be able to rapidly move forward on all these actionable points through the ISA.
This moment today is just the beginning of our journey. Our alliance can further illuminate our lives with the light of the Sun. It can make meaningful this saying: ‘Let us make the Sun brighter’. The soul of Indian philosophy has always been Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam, it means: ‘The whole world is a family’.
I am confident that if we seek the betterment of the entire world, of the entire mankind then we will be able to forge unity and cohesion in our efforts and objectives like a family.
This is the same path through which we can realise the prayer of ancient sages – Tamso MaJyotirgamay – it means ‘let’s move towards light from darkness’.
Thank you very much.