Solar power vital to Asia's future growth: ADB

15:44, May 30, 2011      

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Asia must expand solar energy generation if the region is to stay on its strong economic growth path and reduce carbon emissions, Asian Development Bank (ADB) vice president said on Monday.

ADB Vice-President Xiaoyu Zhao addressed at the opening of the 3rd meeting of the Asia Solar Energy Forum in Bangkok, which is gathering over 300 government officials, private companies, and solar energy experts.

The forum, set up to promote knowledge exchange, is part of the Asia Solar Energy Initiative, established in May 2010 with support from ADB. The initiative aims to boost solar power use in the region by identifying and developing suitable projects.

"Asia could account for half of global output, trade, and investment by 2050," said Zhao. "To sustain its impressive growth momentum, Asia must manage its energy security and innovate away from the traditional, high-resource, high-carbon development path toward sustainable, low carbon growth," ADB press release quoted him as saying.

Many countries in Asia have a natural solar energy advantage given they are both sunny and have large areas of land unsuitable for other uses. However, large-scale solar power generation has been hampered by a lack of suitable project financing mechanisms, institutional and policy constraints, and knowledge gaps, he said.

Morever, Zhao added, around 900 million people in developing Asian countries have no access to electricity, and many others in remote areas pay very high prices for power that is typically generated by fossil fuels.

At present, less than 0.25 percent of Asia's overall electricity production comes from solar power, according to the ADB press release.

Source: Xinhua
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