The International Solar Alliance (ISA), a common and voluntary inter-governmental organization seeking to promote solar energy use, has called on Ghana to ratify the Framework Agreement with ISA to be among the first 15 countries to bring the alliance into a legal entity.

The country should also actively participate in ISA’s upcoming plan and programme.

Mr Rakesh Kumar, Senior Consultant and Program Director, ISA, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Accra, that Ghana stood a chance to benefit immensely from the initiative to provide clean and cheaper energy, long term energy security and significantly cut down on green house gas emissions.

He said the importance of clean and competitive solar energy to economic development and transformation of the country could not be over-emphasized.

Ghana in May 2017 signed the ISA framework agreement to join the International Solar Alliance on the sidelines of the Annual General Meeting of the African Development Bank.

The ISA as a legal entity will come into existence once 15 countries ratify the Framework Agreement, which seeks to establish ISA as a treaty-based organization.

The initiative launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in 2015 currently has 121 Prospective member countries, 39 Signatory countries with 10 countries ratifying.

The ten countries that ratified are India, France, Nauru, Mauritius, Niger, Tuvalu, Bangladesh, Somalia, Seychelles and Fiji.

Among key objectives of ISA is the promotion of solar technologies, new business models and investment in the solar sector to enhance prosperity and to aggregate and formulate projects and programmes to get the cost optimization and benefits through economies of scale.

It also aims to develop innovative financial mechanisms to reduce cost of capital, build a common knowledge e-Portal and facilitate capacity building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and research and development among member countries.

“The ISA as an inter-governmental body is focused to address and meet the special energy needs of member countries, assist in capacity building that has immense potential for employment generation, give opportunities for collaboration and adopt a common approach to meet diverse goals through agreed approach,” Mr. Kumar said.

The Government of India through the Ministry of External Affairs has set aside up toUS$2 Billion for solar projects in Africa out of the Government of India’s US$10 Billion concessional Line of Credit for Africa. The LOC will be extended to all those African countries that have signed and ratified the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement.

Currently, India has committed to host ISA Secretariat for five years duration from 2016-17 to 2020-21 and will contribute $27million to the ISA for creating corpus, building infrastructure and recurring expenditure over the period.

Mr Kumar said ISA is working on supporting member countries through National Focal Points to aggregate demand and quality requirements and create eco-system to enable member countries have access to cost-effective solar water pumping system (SWPS) and solar street lighting system (SSLS) among others.

He said from the inputs received from respective National Focal Points, a preliminary assessment on requirement of SWPS and SSLS, both in quantitative and qualitative terms would be made. This will enable ISA to go in Phase one for price discovery tender for aggregated demands (globally / continent wise) for 500,000 solar pumps and 1 (One) Million Street Lights.

ISA would be adopting International Competitive Bidding (ICB) route utilizing the facility of e-procurement/e-tendering to have price discovery in an open and transparent manner.

ISA is also in the process of developing a Mobile Application to facilitate farmers, suppliers, policy makers, installers, and other users, to monitor the status of the distributed solar pump installations, both during implementation and during operation and maintenance stage.

ISA is also working in collaboration with Educational Institutions and Industry to develop Awareness Program for farmers and also certification courses in installation and Operation & Maintenance of Solar Irrigation/drinking water pumps, which will assist farmers towards sustainable livelihood and give rural youth an opportunity for employment.

Source: GNA/NewsGhana.com.gh

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