The United States of America becomes the 101st member country of the International Solar Alliance
In a big boost to accelerate global adoption of solar energy, John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate announced at the UNFCCC COP26 today that the United States of America (USA) has joined the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a member country. U.S becomes the 101st country to sign the framework agreement of the ISA to catalyze global energy transition through a solar-led approach.
The ISA (International Solar Alliance) is an inter-governmental treaty-based international organization with a global mandate to catalyze global solar growth by helping to reduce the cost of financing and technology for solar. In fulfilling this mandate, the ISA is committed to establishing solar as a shared solution that simultaneously addresses climate, energy, and economic priorities across geographies, facilitating Energy Transition at a global level, Energy Security at national levels, while also ensuring Energy Access at the local level. The ISA is helping large nations scale global commitments, thereby serving the planet’s needs for reduced carbon emissions, while also helping economically more vulnerable nations establish a self-sustaining energy alternative that reduces trade dependency and drives job creation. Universal, affordable, and reliable last- mile electricity connectivity across socio-economic strata is a crucial pillar and targeted, tangible outcome of these combined efforts towards facilitating economic development and environmental impact.
U.S.' endorsement of the ISA framework follows remarks by U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry at the Fourth General Assembly of ISA in October 2021, where he had said that ISA is critical to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and has an opportunity to accelerate Solar’s growth with member countries blessed with the world’s strongest sunlight. Stating that, “Solar energy is at the heart of the urgent climate action,” Mr. Kerry urged nations to take dramatic action to keep the 1.5-degree Celsius temperature rise and mid-century net zero emissions targets within reach.
Signing the framework agreement, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, said, “It has long been coming, and we are happy to join the International Solar Alliance, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the lead in making. We worked out the details and this is a process we are pleased to be a part of. This will be an important contribution to more rapid deployment of solar globally. It will be particularly important for developing countries.”
A country like USA joining the alliance gives a signal that this alliance is going to transition into a significant player in future.
India and France had announced the launch of the International Solar Alliance on 30th November 2015, at the 21st session of United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris. The framework of ISA was first circulated seeking the support of other countries in 2016. The framework emphasizes delivering global relevance and local benefit to all countries through collaborations, with ISA’s key interventions focusing on readiness & enabling activities, risk mitigation & innovative financing instruments to facilitate the promotion and deployment of solar technologies in target markets.
The approach and methods detailed in the framework have already started showing results, with ISA building a solar project pipeline of nearly 5 GW installed capacity. The approach detailed in this framework will culminate in a vision for interconnected global grids, which was formalized and jointly launched as the ‘Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid’ (GGI-OSOWOG), during the World Leaders Summit of the COP26 in Glasgow on 2nd November 2021 by the UK Presidency of COP26 and India Presidency of International Solar Alliance (ISA).
Earlier at COP26, the United States also joined the Steering Committee of the GGI-OSOWOG comprising of 5 members – USA, Australia, France, the United Kingdom, and India — and endorsed the One Sun Declaration along with 80 countries. United States of America’s Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm had said that “the Grid-Sun combination will save the planet. The GGI-OSOWOG is focusing on the two most important pieces of the puzzle. We at the US Department of Energy are happy to be a partner with GGI-OSOWOG.”