Modi and May in a previous encounter. Credit: Wikicommons

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi will visit the UK on 18 April when he will welcome the country to the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as its newest member.

Following an invitation to London by prime minister Theresa May, Modi said: “My visit to London presents another opportunity for both countries to infuse fresh momentum to this growing bilateral engagement. I will be focusing on enhancing India-UK partnership in the areas healthcare, innovation, digitization, electric mobility, clean energy, and cybersecurity.”

The ISA had its founding ceremony in New Delhi last month, spearheaded by Modi and French president Emmanuel Macron, with multiple development banks signing significant partnership agreements. The Alliance has its eye on 1,000GW of PV with US$1 trillion funding by 2030, mainly through promoting skill sharing and bold international efforts to progress solar in emerging markets – particularly in countries located between the tropics.

India, which regards European innovation highly and has had a clean energy partnership with Germany for many years (Indo-German Energy Forum), is also looking for established markets including the likes of the UK – with around 13GW of installed solar capacity – to support this knowledge sharing.

Over a dozen members of the Solar Trade Assocaition (STA) will join it's cheif executive Chris Hewitt; Upendra Tripathy, director of the International Solar Alliance (ISA); and the Department for International Development's secretary of state Penny Mordaunt at the London Stock Exchange today to formally sign up the UK to the ISA.

“The UK solar industry has exceptional experience developing high quality, cost-effective solar projects, and on a large scale. Our members are delighted by the ambitions of the ISA which are in step with the challenges presented by climate change and which demonstrate the global importance of solar technology,” Hewitt was expected to say.

“Having the ISA standing behind projects, including billions of pounds of investment in Africa, will give developers confidence to accelerate deployment in the places that most need solar power.”

Indian power minister R.K. Singh had recently urged the Indian solar industry to look abroad and set up projects in member countries of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), but no such request has been made of developers from other countries as yet.

Frans Van Den Heuvel, cheif exeuctive of Solarcentury, which now operates in more than a dozen countries around the world, hopes to work with the ISA to “unlock further investment in these regions”.

He added: “We are very pleased to see the UK sign up to the ISA. It becomes clearer every year just how substantial a role solar and associated technologies will play in building a low-carbon global energy system fit for this century. Solar continues to set records for low costs and speed of deployment, and across Solarcentury’s global business we see many of our most ground-breaking projects in emerging markets.”

The ISA already has at least 60 signatories, of which 30 have ratified the agreement, having been launched by Modi in partnership with France back in 2015.

This week, Modi will also be visiting Sweden where he will also be discussing clean energy among a host of other topics.