U.S.-based Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), which produces crystalline silicon solar panels, has agreed to supply solar panels to India's Azure Power.

An array of solar panels point to the Nevada sky as they generate electricity for use on Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada May 27, 2009. The Obama administration recently committed close to $2 billion to solar energy projects.

Suntech will supply the India-based solar energy developer with several megawatts of solar panels to set up new solar power plants in India.

The clean and quiet solar facilities will supply thousands of local residents with reliable electricity for decades, especially during peak demand hours, providing a sustainable alternative to carbon-based energy production, Suntech said.

The solar power plants will be owned, developed, and financed by Azure Power and will feature thousands of Suntech's 280-watt polycrystalline solar panels.

The first project is already under construction and additional solar power plants will be developed in early 2011, Suntech said.

"We believe that Suntech has superior crystalline silicon solar modules available in the market today and the know-how required for setting up large, utility-scale solar projects," Inderpreet Wadhwa, chief executive of Azure Power said on Tuesday.

India continues to experience significant delays and disruptions in bringing non-renewable energy online. The country faces the daunting task of adding 500 megawatts of power generation per week for the next 25 years to maintain GDP growth of 8 percent per annum, according to Azure Power.

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is responsible for more than 500,000 premature deaths in India each year, mainly because of emissions from fossil fuels such as sulfur dioxide.

Azure Power aims to electrify rural communities at the tail end of the grid, which suffer crippling power outages and low voltage.

"With remarkable solar resources and robust economic growth, India has enormous potential for the development of a strong solar industry," said James Hu, Suntech's president for Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Ibtimes

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