NEW DELHI: The First meeting of the Global Leadership Task Force of Corporates on Innovation constituted by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was convened, yesterday evening, in New Delhi. The meeting was chaired by Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO, SoftBank Group Corp. and convened by FICCI as the convener and secretariat of the Task Force.
This Task Force was set up by ISA on March 6, 2018 to put forth recommendations to promote innovation in the areas of, inter alia, solar finance, solar technologies, solar applications, innovations, R&D and capacity building.
The Task Force will further aid in developing a proper innovation strategy to address challenges faced by the member countries and partner countries of ISA.
This is a private sector-led Task Force under ISA, chaired by Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO, SoftBank Group Corp. Members of the Task Force include GE from USA, TOTAL from France, LG Chem from Korea, GCL from China, SMA from Germany, and State Bank of India (SBI) from India. The meeting was organised by FICCI as the convenor and secretariat of The Task Force.
The meeting was attended by all members. Upendra Tripathy, Interim Director General of ISA and Anand Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India addressed the first meeting of the Task Force as special invitees.
One of the key focus areas of the Task Force is to establish Solar Technology Application and Resource-Centre (STAR-C) Centres of Excellence in ISA member countries for creating local capacity for solar innovation, solar R&D, standards, testing, certification, quality control and skills building.
As a run-up to the 1st meeting of the Task Force, ISA and FICCI along with the support of NISE and INES (of France), organized on the previous day (April 27, 2018) an interactive session with Renewable Energy/Solar Energy institutes / R&D institutions of prospective member countries to initiate brainstorming on STAR-C Centres of Excellence. A provisional DPR of STAR-C was presented for deliberations and feedback.
R&D institutes from countries such as Australia, USA, India, France, Finland, Singapore, Kenya and Togo and other key research institutions and representatives from National Focal Points of ISA participated in this session.
Following action points were identified by the Task Force:
• To develop an overarching innovation strategy that will spell out practical measures to promote innovation based actions in ISA member countries
• To identify 6 STAR centres of global excellence based on transparent criteria to facilitate networking & twinning with other STAR centres
• To bring transformative action in limited number of countries to start with by identifying islands of excellence that will coalesce best practices in technology innovation as well as innovative business models for delivering these innovations to the end-user, and help ease access for such innovations and business models with the objective of promoting universal access to energy and cost reductions
• To create ecosystems for start-ups in solar innovations by enabling incubation, partnerships, access to finance, and standards
• In order to fulfill its objectives, the Task Force decided to initiate 4 solar technology missions in the areas of solar modules, storage systems, electrical systems (inverters, transformers, etc) and grids in order to help implementation of ISA programmes in member countries
• Since finance will be the most critical input for solar projects, the Task Force decided to initiate a Financial Innovation Mission (focusing on micro-finance, credit enhancement mechanisms, green bonds, etc.) to work alongside each Technology Mission
The Task Force will continue meeting every quarter.
“I laud the efforts of Prime Minister Modi and President Macron to provide access to solar energy across the globe. This Task Force will be the key driver in initiating large-scale solar transformation in all the member countries. It will support the creation of local strategy and capacity to overcome challenges of new policy, technology, financing and execution in each country. Our aim is to expand the footprint of ISA to include many more corporates, and to facilitate this transformative action globally," said Mr. Masayoshi Son, Chair, Global Leadership Task Force of Corporates on Innovation and Chairman & CEO, SoftBank Group.
“FICCI believes solar innovation will be the fulcrum of ISA as only innovation can widen and deepen solar applications to ensure universal, affordable, reliable energy access. The Global Leadership Task Force of Corporates on Innovation constituted by ISA demonstrates a collective ownership to build action. I am sure Masa Son will make this transformative with the leading companies in this Task Force,” said. Rashesh Shah, President, FICCI.
“This global leadership Task Force is meant for bringing about transformative action across the world. With the help of global corporates, we expect this transformative action to be undertaken on ground, resulting in access to light for the 1 billion unconnected people. I am delighted that leading global companies have agreed to drive this time-bound agenda, keeping Article II & Article VI of the framework agreement in view," said Upendra Tripathy, Interim Director General, ISA.
FICCI as the Secretariat and Convener of the Task Force believes that innovation will be a key driver for transformation in energy systems worldwide, especially for achieving universal energy access and speeding up economic development. This Task Force will help in achieving the overall goal of increasing solar energy deployment in the ISA member countries through global partnerships and galvanising action of Corporates engaged in advance research and innovation at a collective level to ensure scalability and dissemination to all countries.