First Asia Solar Energy Forum

Background

Solar energy has been regarded as one of the fastest growing electricity technologies in recent years. Changes in technology, cost structure, enabling policies, and regulatory frameworks have driven this spectacular growth in developed countries. Solar energy has great significance for developing member countries (DMCs) in Asia and the Pacific because:

  • economies of scale can reduce costs to make solar energy competitive with conventional sources of energy;
  • some DMCs have greater solar radiation, more rapidly growing electricity demand, and more availability of land than developed countries; and, as a result,
  • DMCs have the potential to become global and regional technology manufacturing hubs for solar technology goods and equipment.

In May 2010, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced its Asia Solar Energy Initiative (ASEI) to catalyze generation of about 3,000 megawatts of solar power over the next three years. ADB plans to provide $2.25 billion in finance to the initiative, which is expected to leverage an additional $6.75 billion in investments from others over the same period.

The ASEI will make available a range of projects, and finance and knowledge sharing mechanisms, so as to attract other development banks, commercial banks, and the private sector to invest in these projects. In addition to direct financing, ASEI will set a target of raising $500 million from donor countries to "buy down" the high up-front capital costs of investing in solar energy, as well as design other innovative ways to attract private-sector investment.

ASEI will also establish and, initially, host the Solar Energy Forum, an international knowledge-sharing platform that will track solar development projects, discuss new solar power proposals and incentive mechanisms, and organize major conferences.

Purpose

Amidst the stalled Doha global trade talks, free trade agreements in economically important Asia are increasingly becoming a significant trade policy instrument - with nearly 50 free trade agreements in effect today and many more in the pipeline. The session, Business Responses to Free Trade Agreements in Asia will review recent trends in the proliferation of FTAs, their impact on business, and highlight Asia's particular interest in cross-regional trade agreements involving North America and Canada, as well as the European Union.

Objectives

The Forum is expected to bring together key policy makers and solar energy related professionals from nearly 30 of ADB's Member Countries with major solar energy and smart grid manufacturers, developers, suppliers, industry associations and knowledge institutes to:

  • focus on addressing the key barriers to the spread of solar energy in Asia Pacific;
  • create significant opportunities for private sector companies as well as knowledge institutions and development partners;
  • showcase their leadership in solar energy development;
  • voice their thoughts on structuring and developing solar energy projects;
  • build an informed view on the potential market for solar energy in the region.

Organizer

The Forum is being organized by ADB in association with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

Participants

Participation is by invitation only.

  • Ministers from selected Asian countries
  • High-level public sector participants
  • Key policymakers
  • Solar energy related professionals from nearly 30 of ADB's member countries
  • Over 100 international solar energy manufacturers, developers, suppliers, industry associations, knowledge institutes.