Nepal Parliament Endorses Agreement to Join International Solar Alliance


Kathmandu: Nepal’s lower house of parliament, the House of Representatives (HoR) on Thursday endorsed an agreement on the establishment of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) floated by India and France.

The agreement presented by the Minister of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet was endorsed by the parliament with a majority. Nepal joined the ISA in the year 2022 during the visit of Nepali Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to India.

Addressing queries raised by lawmakers about the establishment of the ISA, Minister Basnet stated that it would guide the development of the energy sector and minimize the effects of climate change. He clarified that the government prioritized national benefits and that this establishment would not add any financial liability to the country.

“In the next two years we will be able to produce 1,000 Mega Watt (MW) solar power, the work is already underway and the competitive PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) bidding also has started. At first, we have opened bidding for PPA of 800 Mega Watt (MW). Within two years from the solar power itself we will be adding another 1,000 MW electricity; also we are targeting to achieve the production capacity of 4,500 MW electricity from hydropower and in the next one year the 1000 MW will be surplus which would come from solar,” Minister Basnet informed the parliament.

The Minister also added that the agreement would help mitigate the effects of climate change and give direction to the power production of the nation.

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an action-oriented, member-driven, collaborative platform for the increased deployment of solar energy technologies. Its goals are to enhance energy access, ensure energy security, and drive energy transition in member countries.

Taking part in the discussion held in parliament, Rajendra Kumar KC, one of the members of parliament from opposition Nepali Congress stated the solar power to be cost efficient and environment friendly means of power production.

“This solar energy is beneficial for us, it has low-cost production as well. It costs about 12-15 Crores to produce 1 MW of (hydro) electricity but the solar production cost for the same quantity stands in half. As the cost of production dives down we can give electricity to consumers in low price. It (ISA) indeed is beneficial agreement for Nepal,” KC, the opposition lawmaker said.

Given the topographical hinderance in establishing and operating a hydropower project in far flung areas of Nepal, lawmaker KC also applauded the agreement as it ensures electricity to all those living in dark.

The ISA was conceived as a joint effort by India and France to mobilize efforts against climate change through solar energy solutions. It was conceptualized on the sidelines of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Paris in 2015.

With the amendment of its Framework Agreement in 2020, all member states of the United Nations are now eligible to join the ISA. Currently, 119 countries are signatories to the ISA Framework Agreement, with 98 having submitted the necessary instruments of ratification to become full members of the ISA.