World’s first transnational
solar panel network to
launch in India in 2022

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GLASGOW: The first transnational network of solar power grids, known as the One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative, will be up-and-running by Autumn 2022, according to the director general of the International Solar Alliance, Dr Ajay Mathur.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Dr Mathur confirmed the blueprints for OSOWOG – which aims to connect 140 countries and will be spearheaded by India and the UK – will be unveiled at the forthcoming COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

Dr. Ajay Mathur

The grid aims to reduce nations’ reliance on non-renewable energy such as coal by enabling them to purchase cheap solar power from other countries with an excess.

Many developing nations would like to reduce their use of fossil fuels, but power demands are mounting. For example, India – which currently generates 80 per cent of its power through non-renewables – is facing the dilemma of how to quadruple its power output by 2050. 

The Indian government could mine its vast coal reserves further, but OSOWOG could be a much cleaner alternative and offer round-the-clock solar power, even when it falls dark in Delhi.

“Energy can flow from nations where the sun is shining to where the sun has already set. It allows everyone to use more green energy that they would use otherwise,” said Dr Mathur.

“What we want to do next is to enable countries to link up with each other and we would help them in terms of technology. When it is dark in east Africa it might be light in India, and vice versa.”

The ISA is aiming to secure $1 trillion of funding by 2030 to assist developing countries like India in expanding their solar power grids. A consortium led by French state-run power utility firm EDF, which includes The Energy and Resources Institute in India, has been tasked with creating the road map for OSOWOG.

International Solar Alliance (Picture ANI)

The global grid should be up-and-running by this time next year, according to Dr Mathur, with its south Asia pool one of the first to be piloted. Already, India has been supplying power to neighbouring Bangladesh and Nepal. 

The final touches had also been made to several regional grids over the last few weeks – including a connection between Egypt and the Middle East and another between Australia and Singapore.

“What we are looking at is enabling economic competition so that solar electricity produced in other countries is economically viable when the sun sets,” says Dr Mathur.

OSOWOG is the brain-child of India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, who first suggested an idea for an interconnected global solar power grid in October 2018. In May, the UK pledged technical, financial and research support for the project.

“The UK and India are working together to develop a new partnership initiative to be launched at COP26 bringing together a global coalition of energy grid stakeholders, including governments and businesses, to accelerate the expansion of energy grids across regions and continents,” confirmed a UK government spokesperson.

“This will ensure renewable energies such as solar, hydro-electric and wind power are harnessed and shared as widely as possible – providing clean, secure and reliable energy across the world, and contributing plans to halve global emissions by 2030.”