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
“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
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