Toshiba to build huge solar plant in Bulgaria: report

The plant will be built in the eastern city of Yambol by March 2012 at a cost of more than 100 billion yen ($1.2 billion), Japan’s Nikkei daily said.

As a European Union member, Bulgaria needs quickly to bolster its sources of renewable energy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The EU has an aggressive goal to unilaterally cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020, as compared to a benchmark year of 1990.

By tapping Japanese technology, the eastern European nation aims to pave the way for obtaining 16 percent of its power from renewable energy sources by 2020, up from roughly seven percent now, the report said.

Toshiba, Tokyo Electric, Japanese trader Itochu and the government-backed Innovation Network Corp. of Japan will set up a local joint venture, investing a total of around 50 billion yen.

CEZ Group, the seventh-ranked European power utility, will also take part in the joint venture, contributing as much as 20 billion yen, according to the report.

Japanese Economy and Industry Minister Banri Kaieda and Bulgarian Economy and Energy Minister Traycho Traykov will agree to support the consortium at a meeting early next week, the Nikkei said.

“It is true that Toshiba is carrying out various activities for developing solar power in Bulgaria,” a Toshiba spokesman said. “But we cannot comment on a specific project and nothing has been decided yet.”

The plant will start with an output capacity of roughly 50,000 kilowatts. The capacity will gradually be increased to 250,000 kilowatts in five years, the business daily reported.

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Toshiba to build huge solar plant in Bulgaria: report