International Solar Alliance Inaugurates Solar Projects Across Africa, Advancing Clean Energy Access


The International Solar Alliance (ISA) convened its 5th regional meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, on August 31, 2023, with the support of the Government of Rwanda. This significant event witnessed the participation of 36 countries and ministers from 15 nations. During the meeting, Shri R. K. Singh, the President of ISA and Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy of the Government of India, virtually inaugurated nine solar power demonstration projects spanning the Republic of Uganda, the Union of Comoros, and the Republic of Mali. Among these, four projects were located in Uganda, two in Comoros, and three in Mali.


The ISA has provided grants for these projects, which include the solarization of rural healthcare centers and primary schools. In Uganda, the projects involved the installation of an 8.5 kilowatt peak solar capacity and a 17.2 kilowatt-hour battery storage system at a cost of USD 48,835, benefiting underserved areas with no prior access to energy. Similarly, Comoros witnessed the solarization of two rural healthcare centers with a combined capacity of 15 kilowatt peak and a 33 kilowatt-hour battery storage system at a total cost of USD 49,999. In Mali, three rural healthcare centers in Koula, Sinzani, and Doumba were solarized, with a combined capacity of 13 kilowatt peak and a 43 kilowatt-hour battery storage system, all achieved at a total cost of USD 49,995.

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Shri R. K. Singh, in his capacity as the ISA President, dedicated these nine demonstration projects to the respective countries. He underscored the importance of such projects in improving the lives of underserved populations and emphasized that they serve as beacons of global cooperation and advancement. He reiterated the ISA’s commitment to creating compelling models of solar projects that can be replicated in ISA member countries to drive progress and well-being.


Furthermore, Shri R. K. Singh highlighted the role of solar energy in achieving universal energy access and sustainable energy transition. He mentioned a report titled “Roadmap of Solar Energy for Universal Energy Access,” jointly released by the ISA and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India. This report outlines a strategic vision for utilizing solar-driven solutions to effectively and economically address global energy access challenges, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The report promotes the deployment of solar mini-grids and Decentralized Renewable Energy solutions to tackle energy access challenges in different situations.

The ISA’s dedication to addressing the lack of affordable financing and technical expertise in its member countries was emphasized. Shri Singh noted that the ISA has already completed demonstration projects in eight countries, focusing on areas like solarization of healthcare centers, solar irrigation, and solarization of school buildings. These projects aim to showcase the potential of solar technology in improving the lives of individuals across member nations.

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Dr. Ajay Mathur, the Director-General of ISA, emphasized the importance of collaboration among governments, the private sector, and international organizations to harness the full potential of solar energy. He mentioned ISA’s initiatives, such as the STAR-C program, SolarX Startup Challenge, and Global Finance Facility, which focus on capacity building, innovation, and investment in the solar sector.

The Vice President of ISA from the African Region, Mr. Jama Taqal Abbas, highlighted Africa’s potential to become a global leader in renewable energy production and innovation. He stressed the need for innovative financing mechanisms to make solar energy investments more attractive and accessible in Africa.

In addition to the discussions on solar energy’s role in addressing Africa’s energy challenges, ISA celebrated the winners of its SolarX Startup Challenge, aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and clean energy in African ISA member countries. This initiative recognized 20 companies from 10 African nations as winners.

The ISA also discussed its Global Solar Facility, which aims to boost innovative solar technologies in Africa through private investment. This initiative includes a payment and insurance mechanism endorsed by the ISA Assembly and offers payment guarantees, partial insurance premia, and investment opportunities for proposed projects across Africa.

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The meeting concluded with a focus on the potential of mini-grids in universalizing energy access through innovative business models, underlining the significance of local needs being met with locally nurtured solutions.

The meeting, which highlighted the importance of solar energy as a solution to Africa’s energy challenges, was a testament to the commitment of ISA and its member countries to promote clean and sustainable energy for all.

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