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Sunday, 23 January 2011

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India to lead solar energy drive in Asia and Pacific - ADB

With its rapidly growing electricity demand, ample land availability and strong government commitment to sustainable economic growth, India can play a leading role in generating solar energy in the Asia and Pacific region, the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Director General for South Asia said recently.

Speaking at a conference in India’s Gujarat state, Director General H. Sultan Rahman said strong Indian government support at both national and regional levels has galvanised a range of major solar energy projects that place the country at the forefront of solar power development.

“Economies of scale are reducing costs and Gujarat, as well as other states in India, has greater solar radiation, more rapidly growing electricity demand and more available land,” Rahman said.

The Government of Gujarat recently identified a 2,500 hectare site to build the Charanka Solar Park, which when completed will be among the largest solar power facilities in the world. In tandem, ADB is preparing a $100 million loan to fund a proposed transmission line that will carry the 500 megawatts generated at Charanka to the national electricity grid.

In May 2010, ADB launched the Asia Solar Energy Initiative (ASEI) to identify and develop large capacity solar projects to increase the amount of solar power generated in the Asia and Pacific region six-fold to 3,000 megawatts by mid-2013. Before the launch of ASEI, the region produced less than 500 megawatts of solar power from existing plants. Overall regional solar capacity is expected to reach 1,000 megawatts by the end of this year and 3,000 megawatts by May 2013.

The ASEI also includes establishment of a knowledge platform, the Asia Solar Energy Forum, and a fund to promote solar energy development from which, given its potential, India is expected to be among the major beneficiaries.

 

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