SunEdison brings 400 MW of solar power to South Korea

SunEdison and the provincial government of Gyeongsangnam-do in South Korea have agreed to build 400 megawatts of solar power plants that are expected to generate over 1,500 jobs.

The United States-based solar company will use public land and building rooftops for the solar installations, which are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2013. The provincial government will assist SunEdison in securing proper land and building areas and completing permit requirements.

The solar projects would help the province achieve its renewable energy diffusion target of 15 percent by 2030.

SunEdison will also reinvest part of the profits from the solar projects to motivate other companies to construct and install photovoltaic power plants in the province.

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“Renewable, clean solar energy is still in its infancy as a growing global industry. Our role in reducing costs in both the components of solar modules and solar plants will help to further accelerate this growth,” said Ahmad Chatila, chief executive of MEMC, in a prior statement.

SunEdison, the solar development arm of MEMC Electronics Materials Inc. (NYSE:WFR), owns over 350 photovoltaic power plants in the United States and Canada, making it the largest solar energy services provider in North America.

The company also has projects in France, Germany, Greece and Spain, and is currently building a 72-MW solar plant in Rovigo, Italy, which is said to be Europe’s largest photovoltaic plant.

South Korea, the fourth largest economy in Asia, earmarked 241 billion Korean won ($205.9 million) for renewable energy development in 2009, of which 58.1 billion Korean won were allotted for photovoltaic research and development.

The country also achieved 1 gigawatt of annual solar cell production capacity last year.

South Korea intends to increase the share of renewables in its total energy consumption to 11 percent by 2030 and 20 percent by 2050. It also plans to reduce its emissions by 30 percent by 2020 compared with 2005 levels.

However, renewable energy accounts for only less than 3 percent of South Korea’s total energy consumption, according to a study by Baker and McKenzie.

Still, the Korean government is pushing to include more renewable energy in its power mix, with plans to invest 50 trillion Korean won over the next four years to shift the country’s manufacturing and export-based growth to green industry.

The country also aims to have the world’s first nationwide smart grid system that will allow for wider use of renewable energy.



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