Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: The International Solar Alliance (ISA), a coalition of more than 120 countries that aims to accelerate the large-scale expansion of solar energy, today hosted the groundbreaking of its new world headquarters in New Delhi, India. The official ceremony, attended by representatives from 80 countries, was led by French President H.E. Francois Hollande, Indian Prime Minister H.E. Narendra Modi, United Arab Emirates Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, and Indian Minister of New and Renewable Energy H.E. Piyush Goyal,.

The ISA was launched during the Paris climate summit where the UAE was among one of its founding partners. The ISA will serve as a platform for cooperation among solar rich countries. Key ISA initiatives include reducing financial risk of solar investments, enhancing technology transfer and knowledge sharing – especially in developing countries, building capacity, and increasing worldwide energy access. The Alliance also aims to raise investments from multilateral institutions and private sources that are needed by 2030 for the massive deployment of affordable solar energy.

“At the opening of the Paris Climate Conference, we together launched the International Solar Alliance, in the presence of many Heads of State and CEOs. This Alliance is now supported by over 100 countries,” said H.E. Francois Hollande, President of France. “Now with COP21 over, a new phase is beginning in which our words must become actions. We must implement on a large scale the solution tailored to each country. The first meeting was held in Abu Dhabi a few days ago. The Alliance must begin work without delay in order to achieve tangible results on the ground.”

“Solar power offers the world a tremendous opportunity to reduce the impacts of climate change and deliver clean energy to millions,” said H.E. Narendra Modi, Indian Prime Minister. “Today’s groundbreaking of the new International Solar Alliance headquarters here in India is a major milestone in the global transition to a clean energy future.”

The ISA held its Steering Committee meeting at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), one of the world’s largest gatherings on sustainability and renewable energy. The UAE attended the meeting, along other with other government and business leaders.

“Solar power development will unlock enormous economic benefits for the global community, creating new sectors and jobs that will strengthen our future economy,” said H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Special Envoy on Energy and Climate Change. “The International Solar Alliance further supports the UAE’s efforts to diversify our economy and energy sources.”

“The UAE has a proven track record of achievements in the renewable energy and sustainability sector, making our participation in the Alliance even more important,” H.E. Dr. Al Jaber added. “Over the past decade, we have played a leading role in the dissemination and application of clean energy technologies and have become a major player in global energy security.”

The ISA is spearheaded by India, which is investing an initial USD 30 million to set up the ISA headquarters – expected to be operational by mid-2016. India is expected to be the world’s most populous country by 2030 and has set a target to produce 40 percent of its electricity from renewables by then. The country also plans to install 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022.

While in India, H.E. Dr. Sultan Al Jaber met with H.E. Piyush Goyal, Indian Minister of New and Renewable Energy, to discuss areas of collaboration between the two countries, including ways to leverage joint expertise, research capacity, and investment opportunities to accelerate clean energy innovation and improve global energy security.

“India is an important partner to the UAE and has emerged as a leader in solar energy,” said H.E. Dr. Al Jaber. “We look forward to working closely with India, sharing our knowledge and expertise to help the country reach its national energy targets and advance the solar power industry globally.”

The UAE is already harnessing solar power at home through the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar complex and the “Shams 1″ concentrated solar power station that was launched by Masdar in 2013. The UAE’s participation in the ISA reinforces its leadership in clean energy innovation and commitment to ensuring a secure, sustainable future.