Indian power minister Piyush Goyal and French environment minister Segolene Royal. Photo: PTI
Indian power minister Piyush Goyal and French environment minister Segolene Royal. Photo: PTI

UNITED NATIONS: India and France have launched a programme with $1 trillion potential to help developing countries harness fully their solar resources for a clean energy future to meet the “biggest challenge humanity has ever faced”.

Power minister Piyush Goyal and French environment minister Segolene Royal announced on Friday the solar finance programme that aims to lower the cost of finance and facilitate the flow of more than $1 trillion investment to members of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).

A second programme they launched at the ISA meeting held during the signing ceremonies for the Paris Climate Change Agreement here aims to make available solar technology for farmers. The meeting was attended by representatives of over 25 countries including the US, Brazil, Bangladesh and Nigeria.

Goyal said the ISA initiatives were in “response to probably the world’s largest challenge humanity has ever faced”.

Beyond providing clean energy and dealing with climate change, the harnessing of solar energy was also about energy security, he said.

Royal said: “I would like to emphasise the cooperation we have had with India, which is exceptional.”

“We will have to leverage our energies on (building solar) infrastructure,” she said. The ISA member nations can count on France and India to scale up the programmes for the “energy of the future”, she added.

Goyal said he was confident that the programmes will ensure flow of affordable finance for solar projects and serve the interests of the farming communities in the ISA member countries.

Explaining the benefits of solar-rich nations collaborating through the ISA, he said it would provide benefits of scale leading to reduction in prices; promotion of collaboration in research and development; and wider deployment of solar technologies.

The ISA is about “all of us working toward a shared vision, a shared goal to take the solar initiative forward”, he said.

The ISA, which was launched at the Paris Climate Change Summit last year by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande, seeks to empower solar-rich countries located between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn, many of which have at least 300 days of sunshine, and share common challenges and opportunities.

During Hollande’s visit to India in January, the two leaders laid the foundation stone for the ISA headquarters in Gurgaon.