MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Adani Group has secured land to build two solar farms in Australia, together worth A$400 million ($300 million) as 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, it said on Thursday.
The second solar farm will be in Whyalla, a town in South Australia stung by the collapse of steel maker Arrium, with construction of the 120-150 MW plant due to begin in late 2017, Adani said in a separate statement on Friday.
South Australia has led the country's push away from coal-fired power, with wind and solar energy now accounting for about 40 percent of the state's electricity supply.
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 = 1.3504 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Joseph Radford and Richard Pullin)