The biggest investment seen in Kedah in years is set to become a reality with a RM400 million solar power plant by Edra Power Holdings Sdn Bhd.
The plant in Kuala Ketil will turn the once agricultural land into an industrial site and support the long-established industrial park in Kulim, said Edra President and Executive Director Datuk Mark Ling.
"The importance of having the Kedah solar plant is that it could footprint the first 50MWAC solar panel farm that will be the largest in Malaysia," he told Bernama.
Edra, recently acquired by China's China General Nuclear Power Corp for RM9.83 billion -- the largest single foreign investment in Malaysia -- was excited to share the group's vast experience in Malaysia in such a large renewable energy scheme, he said.
"The solar power plant is also to meet the government mix-fuel policy, that there must be a mix of coal and gas and maybe hydro in line with efforts to cut down the carbon emission footprint," he added.
Ling described solar energy as the most feasible renewable energy programme in the country, which does not have the luxury of wind.
The Malaysian government via the Energy Commission has put in place all the guidelines and processes for the bidding for renewable energy mix coming on stream, renewable energy on the continuous yearly, half-yearly basis based on different segments of the country to deliver and where land is a crucial factor.
Ling said Kedah with abundant flat land in the right places proved to be the ideal location for solar plants compared with states like Kelantan and Terengganu which are more hilly.
"The stability of land is extremely important hence Kedah and Perlis are the first pick," he said.
He gave full marks to the Kedah state government for its very encouraging support to Edra's programme especially in the efficiency in the conversion of the 200-acre land for the project.
The existence of the plant is also expected to give a big boost to the state's own industrialisation pace as well as the Energy Commission's green energy statement and Malaysia's going green programme.
Ling said the plant would also enhance local development in the area for the community such as providing jobs and other spill-over effects.
"It will also eventually turn a lot of agricultural land in the state into industrial land. Apart from the investment land development, there's also clearly people migrating to live in Kedah because there will be businesses created from job opportunities," he said.