President Paul Kagame has said that the world demand in solar energy can only be met if the private sector comes in to support efforts of governments in this sector which has huge returns on investment.
This is a stand that Kagame shared to thousands of participants of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) Founding Summit in New Delhi – India on March 10th.
At the summit, it was indicated that the world needs $1 trillion to achieve one terawatt (TW) of solar power capacity by 2030.
“The one trillion dollars needed for solar investments globally in the coming years will obviously not come from governments alone,” Kagame said while giving his remarks.
“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.”
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 121 countries, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
In April 2016, ISA proposed a common guarantee fund and guarantee investments with a clear scope, delimitation of risk coverage and recourse options.
This intended to reduce transaction costs to mobilise the investment volumes necessary for scaling up solar energy projects.
ISA proposed setting up a $300-billion Global Solar Fund over 10 years with contributions from the World Bank, Overseas Development Assurances and from the Green Climate Fund to leverage$3,000 billion in investment from the corporate sector.
Kagame said that sunniest countries in the world lacking energy is a shame.
“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,” he said revealing that in fact, 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,” Kagame said. “But to speed adoption and get the environmental benefits, solar energy has to be at least as reliable and affordable as other energy sources.”
Therefore, he said, scaling up solar energy use is not only protecting the environment, but also their wellbeing.
The president told participants that Rwanda is catching up in regard to power energy expansion.
He cited the case of an 8.5-megawatt solar power plant in Rwamagana which he said, has already helped to stabilize daytime power supply in Eastern Province. The facility has also demonstrated that we can do much more.
Kagame is of a view that solar energy will not solve all African’ needs in energy, but, its continued expansion will largely contribute to 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,” he said.
There are a million reasons why solar energy projects should be supported by all. However, the key component, according to Kagame, is that 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.
Several world dignitaries, investors and decision makers attended the inaugural ISA summit.
French President Emmanuel Macron who also met President Kagame on the sidelines of the meeting was among the key speakers at ISA.
Macron said, “It is not enough to look at what governments are doing. We need a new international deal with the private sector, the international public sector and the civil society as well.”
Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi who hosted the meeting said, “The Founding Conference of the International Solar Alliance is also an example of concerted global action on climate change.”
“This assembly of world leaders in New Delhi will hopefully give a clarion call to action on solar energy and its uses for a better future.”
Kagame who is the current chairperson of African Union met several officials on the sidelines of ISA.
Those include; Prime Naendra Modi, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea and President Emmanuel Macron of France.