TASHKENT, UZBEKISTAN - The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Uzbekistan Rustam Azimov and Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda today jointly inaugurated a new solar energy research facility that will eventually enable Uzbekistan to become an international knowledge hub and solar technology exporter.

The International Solar Energy Institute (ISEI) is envisioned to become an internationally recognized source of expertise for solar energy education, training and technology. Its applied research will bring innovation, promote technology transfer and spur efficient and economic solar technology use.

"Harnessing solar energy to fuel development is no longer simply an option - it is a necessity," Mr. Kuroda said at the ceremony in Tashkent. "ADB supports Uzbekistan's commitment to building expertise, research, innovation and manufacturing capacity, and to making cost-effective investments in clean energy infrastructure, technologies and practices."

Coal, gas and oil are finite, and solar energy is one of the most promising alternatives. The ISEI will help Uzbekistan build expertise in electricity generation from solar resources.

As a part of its Asia Solar Energy Initiative, ADB aims to help develop, finance and commission 3,000 MW of solar power generation capacity in developing Asian nations by 2013.

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