Adani, SunEdison to build $4 billion solar panel unit

  • AFP, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jan 12, 2015 13:33 IST

Indian conglomerate Adani Group and global energy firm SunEdison have announced a deal to build the largest solar panel factory in the energy-starved nation, worth $4 billion.

The project will be set up in the next three to four years in Mundra city in the western state of Gujarat, a press release said late Sunday. Mundra already hosts India's largest private port owned by the Adani Group.

"By pairing SunEdison's solar technology expertise with Adani's experience in creation of infrastructure, we will be able to transform the region into a solar production powerhouse," said Ahmad Chatila, president and chief executive of US-based SunEdison.

The planned unit is likely to create more than 20,000 jobs in the region and would be a step in Prime Minster Narendra Modi's "Make in India" campaign that aims to turn the country into a global manufacturing hub, the companies said.

"India has embarked on an ambitious program to become a world leader in power generation from renewable technologies, and sees solar as a key part in realising that goal," said Adani Power's chief executive Vneet Jaain.

Blackouts in India are frequent and solving the country's energy shortage is seen as key to generating economic growth.

Currently more than 60% of India's electricity comes through coal, the supply of which can be unreliable given the low efficiency of mines and transport networks.

Just last week, the country was facing possible power cuts after workers at the biggest coal mining firm, Coal India, went on a strike that lasted two days.

Modi, who came to power in May last year, is a strong proponent of boosting the country's solar capacity to mitigate its energy woes, and a series of huge projects have been set up in recent years to this end.

The new government has increased its target for solar power generation capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022, from the current capacity of less than 3 gigawatts.

Adani and SunEdison revealed the joint venture late Sunday at the "Vibrant Gujarat" summit, which aims to encourage investment in the state.

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