International Solar Alliance – Programme “Scaling solar applications for agricultural use

On 22 April 2016 in New York City, Ministers from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Uganda, India and France jointly announced under the aegis of the International Solar Alliance the launch of a Programme “Scaling solar applications for agricultural use,” to bring reliable, affordable and tailored-to-needs solar applications within the reach of all farmers in their countries. This is a major step towards the implementation of the 30 November 2015 Paris Declaration on the International Solar Alliance.

This Programme is expected to serve the farming communities in the ISA member countries on several fronts including storage of agro-produce, space and water heating, crop drying, creation of livelihood opportunities in rural areas. Ministers agreed to better coordinate and aggregate their countries demand for these applications, in order to jointly address three major obstacles to deployment at scale: products not tailored to needs, poor quality leading to high operational costs, lack of know-how dissemination.

They agreed to begin work at the earliest, by designating in their countries Representatives responsible for the full design of this Programme and implementation of the initial steps, who will report to them. They agreed to take stock by the end of the year. They invited Ministers from all solar resource rich countries to join this Programme.

Countries joining this Programme intend to, among others :

  • conduct common needs assessments for decentralized solar applications for agricultural use, through a digital platform and with the assistance of a pool of public technological research centres ;
  • harmonize and synchronize the tendering processes for procurement of specific applications and components tailored to the needs ;
  • develop common standards and benchmarks, and a network of test platforms to ensure quality control and better protection for the buyer ;
  • share the monitoring of projects and actual performance of applications, and set up common e-learning courses for know-how dissemination and local capacity building ;
  • consider the innovations and technology transfers that will further improve decentralized solar applications for agricultural use, and lower the costs.

While announcing the Programme, Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, stated that most of the ISA member countries, where energy access is a concern, are agrarian economies and, thus, solar based interventions for agriculture and agro processing industries will go a long way in improving yields and delivering better economic returns.

H.E. Mrs S�gol�ne Royal, President of COP 21, declared: Solar irrigation pumps will be a major focus of this Programme. Synchronization and harmonization of tenders at the scale of the Alliance will bring higher quality to all.

The International Solar Alliance is an initiative jointly launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30 November 2015 at Paris, on the sidelines of COP21. It aims at addressing obstacles to deployment at scale of solar energy through better harmonization and aggregation of demand from solar rich countries lying fully or partially between the tropic of Cancer and tropic of Capricorn.

Source: Ministry of Environment, France