India gifts solar rooftop to United Nations

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India has donated a solar rooftop at the UN’s New York headquarters to the multilateral body, handing over a 193-panel array that contains one unit for each United Nations member state.

The $1 million, 50 kW Gandhi Solar Park, handed over in New York on Tuesday, was inaugurated by prime minister Narendra Modi, UN secretary general António Guterres and other heads of state.

“It is a first attempt,” said Indian permanent representative to the UN, ambassador Syed Akbaruddin, speaking to the media before the inauguration. “It is an effort where we reflect all 193 countries because there are 193 panels there. Each one for one country. We not only believe in solar power but we believe in equality too.”

The ceremony also marked the 150th anniversary of the birth of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi.

After a meeting with French president Emmanuel Macron in Paris last month, Modi reiterated India’s promise to step up long-term strategies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by next year and to increase its nationally determined contribution to cutting carbon under the Paris Agreement. That marked the first occasion since endorsing the Paris Agreement in 2016 that India had officially restated it would raise its climate change ambitions.

India’s goals, from next year to 2030, include raising the share of non fossil fuel generation in its electricity mix to 40% and reducing carbon emission intensity 33-35% – based on 2005 levels – by 2030.