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New global alliance signs on 121 ‘sun-drenched’ countries to fund solar power tech

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And Dubai’s spending $27 billion to make solar panels mandatory for all rooftops.

India’s prime minister has just announced the banding together of 121 of the world’s warmest countries to invest in solar power technology and use it to connect the 1 billion people in the world who are living without electricity.

Detailed at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, which is currently underway in Paris, the announcement was made alongside reports of a new multi-billion-dollar African alliance to fund clean energy access across the continent, and a pledge from Dubai to generate 75 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2050.

This comes just days after Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and a slew of powerful investors pledged billions towards the advancement of renewable energy, making it clear once and for all that fossil fuels are out, and sustainable energy is in.

“Solar technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving,” India’s prime minster Narendra Modi told the press. “The dream of universal access to clean energy is becoming more real. This will be the foundation of the new economy of the new century.”

While most of the countries that have signed on to the new India-led International Agency for Solar Technologies and Applications (Iasta) are situated in the tropics, a number of European countries have also joined, including France, whose president said the idea was to use finances from the world’s richest countries to bring energy to the world’s poorest and most remote communities.

As Arthur Neslen reports for The Guardian, the Indian government will be forking out US$30 million to establish the alliance’s headquarters in India, which will then focus on raising $400m to put towards renewables. India has also pledged to generate 40 percent of its electricity using renewable sources by 2030.

“The idea is that larger markets and bigger volumes will lead to lower costs, making it possible to spur demand,” said India’s senior negotiator, Ajay Mathur.

While this all sounds pretty great, the announcement has been criticised as not being nearly enough, particularly from what’s set to be the world’s most populous country – it’s expected to have a population of 1.45 billion in the next 15 years.

According to Nelsen, Climate Action Tracker described India’s pledge as “at the least ambitious end of what would be a fair contribution”, while others have praised Modi for being so demonstrably pro-renewables.

Meanwhile, the African Union – an alliance of 54 countries – has launched the African Renewable Energy Initiative, which pledges to put $20 billion towards developing at least 10 gigawatts of renewable energy in the African continent in the next 10 years. Part of the funds for this initiative will be drawn from the $100 billion pledged by the world’s rich countries by 2020 during the G-7 conference in June, and institutions such as the African Development Bank.

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