ADB wants solar power to drive future Asia growth

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 vice president Xiaoyu Zhao said today.

Speaking in Bangkok at the opening of the third meeting of the Asia Solar Energy Forum, Zhao said Asia could account for half of global output, trade, and investment by 2050.

The forum, set up to promote knowledge exchange, is part of the Asia Solar Energy Initiative, was established in May 2010 with support from ADB, with the aim of generating around 3,000 MW of solar power over the next three years in the region.

"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," he said.

He was speaking in the context of Asia countries having 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.