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Market News

 May 03, 2010
Asian Development Bank launches multi-billion dollar solar scheme

 The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has this week launched an ambitious renewable energy project designed to attract billions of dollars of private investment and deploy around three gigawatts of solar power across the Asia and Pacific region within the next three years.

The bank launched the Asia Solar Energy Initiative (ASEI) at its annual meeting in Uzbekistan, promising to provide $2.25bn in finance itself, which it expects to stimulate a further $6.75bn in private investment by 2012.

As well as providing direct financing and stimulating private sector investment, ASEI is hoping to raise $500m from donor countries in order to reduce the high up-front capital costs of investing in solar energy.

The new initiative will support the bank's existing push to encourage renewable energy investment in Asia, and follows reports last month that two of China's leading solar panel manufacturers signed deals with the China Development Bank that could give them access to loans worth 80bn yuan ($11.72bn) that have already been earmarked to support expansion in production capacity.

The ADB failed to privde many specific details about the ASEI scheme, revealing only that the scheme aims to identify and develop large capacity solar projects across the region capable of generate 3GW of solar power by 2012.

"With energy demand projected to almost double in the Asia and Pacific region by 2030, there is an urgent need for innovative ways to generate power while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions," ADB managing director General Rajat Nag told reporters at the conference. "Sustainable solar energy can be the clean power of the future if there are appropriate incentive and financing mechanisms in place."

The bank said it hopes to attract investment from commercial banks and the private sector by making available a range of pre-approved projects through the ASEI. It added that it would also encourage "knowledge sharing" between the bank and private investors and develop new financial mechanisms designed to attract externtal investment.

The scheme will also establish and host an international knowledge-sharing platform known as the Solar Energy Forum, that will track solar development projects, discuss new solar power proposals and incentive mechanisms. The forum will also organise major conferences, the first of which will be hosted in Manila, Philippines, on 5-6 July this year.