MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Adani Group <ADEL.NS> said on Thursday it has secured land to build a A$200 million ($148 million) solar farm in Australia, the first part of a five-year drive to construct 1,500 megawatts of solar energy plants in the country.
The solar push comes as Adani continues to battle opposition to its plans to build a $7 billion coal mine in Australia, a project that has been long-delayed due to a string of environmental lawsuits.
Adani, India's biggest solar power producer and top coal-fired generator, said it would build a 100-200 MW solar farm in Moranbah in the east of Australia, one of the towns worst hit by the global slump in coal mining over the past four years.
Construction is due to begin in mid-2017 and is expected to take about a year.
One of the green groups that has long fought Adani's planned Carmichael coal mine welcomed its expansion into solar power in Australia.
"This is a sensible move that recognises the long term future of electricity production is in renewables," Mackay Conservation Group coordinator Peter McCallum said in an emailed statement.
($1 = 1.3548 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Joseph Radford)