International Solar Alliance Proposes Inter-Country Solar Power Trading

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In the interest of promoting the use of solar power across the world, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) has proposed an agreement to facilitate trading of solar power across borders.

The ISA has issued a draft framework agreement to help member countries share resources in order to increase adoption of solar power. In the framework, ISA mentions that of the 74 member countries some are rich in resources necessary to develop large-scale solar power projects while a number of them are not. Thus, a system should be in place to let countries rich in these resources help other member countries.

Some of the options that ISA proposes are co-development of solar power projects and inter-country solar power supply or trading. ISA proposes that private and public sector companies in member countries be allowed to buy or sell solar power and that requisite regulations be put in place to facilitate these transactions.

The member countries should also work together in development of inter-connectors or transmission lines to facilitate such transactions. A rigorous discussion on the modalities of such transactions would be required as member countries may have completely different regulatory and transmission systems and a separate provision may be necessary to ensure these systems are in sync.

A number of ISA member countries are very rich in resources required to develop solar power projects, some are already among the leading or fastest growing solar power markets in their respective regions. Some like Chile, United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Egypt, and India have substantial operational solar power capacity. These countries have a number of neighboring countries that can either co-develop solar power projects or directly buy solar power.

Already, Bangladesh is reported to be looking to purchase solar power from neighbor India. We covered a story last year that the government of Bangladesh may procure 2 gigawatts of solar power from power plants located in India. Bangladesh, along with Nepal and Bhutan, trades power with India. All these countries have limited land resources, expertise, and solar radiation to develop large-scale solar power projects as opposed to India which has close of 30 gigawatts of operational capacity and a robust policy structure to support development of large-scale solar power parks.

Countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka, too, can benefit from the large-scale projects operational or planned in various parts of India. United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt which have recently emerged as major solar power hubs in the Middle East-North Africa (MENA) region can share their resources with other regional countries. Chile, which has a huge renewable energy generation potential, has faced transmission woes in the past to fully utilize its solar power assets and can export this power to neighboring countries.

Clearly as far as co-development and exchange of solar power is concerned, there exists ample opportunities in the world for countries to partner with each other to ensure proliferation of solar power.

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