Melbourne: Indian energy giant Adani Group on Sunday announced its new venture for construction of two major solar projects in Australia next year as part of its efforts to develop renewable energy projects in the country with a total capacity of 1,500 megawatt (MW) within the next five years.

“Adani today (Sunday) announced that it proposes to commence construction of two major solar projects in Australia next year, each with an output of 100-200 MW," a company statement issued here said.

Land agreements were in place for the projects in South Australia and Queensland, and Adani has commenced the design and tendering phases for both the projects. Adani aims to develop renewable energy projects in Australia with a total capacity of 1,500 MW within the next five years, it noted.

The Australian solar projects will be in addition to Adani’s $16.5 billion investment in the planned Carmichael coal mine in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, which has faced years of legal delays over environmental approvals, as well as rail and port facilities. The company’s head of Australian operations, Jeyakumar Janakaraj, said that these projects will offer a solid foundation to Adani’s renewable energy business in Australia and will contribute to meeting the country’s renewable energy target commitments. “Coupled with the company’s $3.3 billion of investment to date across its mine, rail and port projects in Queensland, Adani’s plans to pursue solar investment opportunities that reflect the confidence the company has in the Australian market," Janakaraj said.

“This reflects both Adani’s commitment as a diversified energy and infrastructure company in India and a leading solar generator in that market, and the company’s plans to build a long-term future with Australia," he said.

Adani has constructed approximately 793 MW of solar plant capacity in India to date, including one of the world’s largest solar plants in Tamil Nadu which has a capacity of 648 MW. Adani has a further 1,225 MW in construction or late development phase in India. The environmental organization Mackay Conservation Group has welcomed Adani’s decision to announce a 100 to 200 MW solar farm in Central Queensland. “This is a sensible move that recognizes the long term future of electricity production is in renewables," Mackay Conservation Group coordinator, Peter McCallum said.

“We also welcome the jobs that construction of a large scale solar power plant will bring without endangering jobs in the Great Barrier Reef tourism. This is a win for everybody. Adani is fundamentally an energy company, not a miner, and their expertise is shifting rapidly towards becoming a clean energy producer in India and now in Australia," he said.

The company has faced a protracted battle to establish Australia’s largest thermal coal mine.