International Solar Alliance launched by Government heads of India and France

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President François Hollande will today in Paris launch the International Solar Alliance, against the background of the critical COP21 UN climate negotiations.

James Watson, CEO of Solar Power Europe, who is attending the launch, said: “We commend Prime Minister Modi and India as a whole for spearheading this collaborative initiative which recognises solar as a key solution to fight climate change whilst providing clean and affordable energy to millions of people. We wish the International Solar Alliance a fruitful two weeks in Paris and look forward to future cooperation.”

The scale of potential global opportunities in the solar market for UK plc was recently illustrated by British solar company Lightsource Renewable Energy Ltd agreeing a £2billion investment plan in India to build over 3GW of solar electricity infrastructure through a partnership with Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd.

British Solar Renewables Ltd, another UK solar company, has already expanded its business into India, which is aiming to install 100GW of solar power in the next five to seven years.

However, only a handful of the largest British solar companies are in a position to take advantage of the massive international opportunities in solar, which will be boosted by the International Solar Alliance launched today. Barclays analysts predict a $30trillion boom in new technology and renewables investment to 2040, with the dropping cost of renewable – in particular solar power – ‘changing everything’.

The solar PV sector expects that critical decisions on the fate of the solar Feed-in Tariff in the UK could come within days of the end of the Paris conference. Most British solar companies require only a few more years of stable support to reach competitiveness but are now faced with uncertainty. The UK Government has proposed spending just £7million to support the British solar industry over the next three years, despite international momentum growing strongly behind the technology.

A survey published by the STA shows that a further 576 jobs have been lost in smaller firms across the UK, bringing the total of redundancies due to the proposed cuts to 1,800.

Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said: “The UK will pay a very heavy price in lost economic opportunities if we marginalise ourselves from the extraordinary global rise of solar power. Solar markets are expected to accelerate after the Paris climate conference as strengthened international commitments give clearer signals to investors.”

“David Cameron has expressed support for Modi’s new solar alliance, but that could ring hollow if his government effectively abandons the technology here in the UK. We hope he will see how prominent solar power is as a solution to climate change at the Paris conference and act quickly to secure British solar power on his return.”