New Delhi, 11 March 2018
Allow me to begin, by thanking Prime Minister Modi for convening this founding conference and for the outstanding hospitality we have enjoyed since our arrival.
I also commend India and France’s leadership on solar energy ever since the International Solar Alliance was proposed, at the Paris Climate Summit, more than two years ago. This includes the commitment of significant financial resources and credits, from which Africa, in particular, stands to benefit.
The sunniest countries on Earth should not lack for energy. The fact that they do is an unacceptable irony. It is therefore fitting that more than half of countries that have signed and ratified the International Solar Alliance treaty are African.
Solar power is part of the answer to climate change. But to speed adoption and get the environmental benefits, solar energy has to be at least as reliable and affordable as other energy sources.
We are not just protecting the environment; we are protecting people and their well-being.
To meet the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union’s Agenda 2063 targets, tremendous expansion in energy production is required in almost every African country. That is why the International Solar Alliance’s twin mission of facilitating technology transfer and innovative financing is so timely.
Advances in solar energy production must be matched by the development of batteries capable of storing it, and smart grids to distribute it to customers.
In Rwanda, an 8.5-megawatt solar power plant in Rwamagana has already helped to stabilise daytime power supply in Eastern Province. The facility has also demonstrated that we can do much more.
The one trillion dollars needed for solar investments globally in the coming years will obviously not come from governments alone. Public-private partnership is required. The International Solar Alliance’s proposed tools to mitigate credit risk send an important signal to the market, that solar energy is a viable business.
Solar power will not address all of Africa’s energy needs, but it will continue to grow in importance as part of our continent’s energy mix.
What is important, is that we continue to work together through this new institution and beyond, to put our collective resources and knowledge at the disposal of our planet’s future.
Once again, I thank Prime Minister Modi and President Macron for the leadership you have provided and will continue to provide to this initiative.