Kolkata will host the 18th International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference & Exhibition. This is the second time that the exhibition is being held in India. First time it was held in Delhi, 16 years ago. South Korea was a tough contender for the exhibition, but India managed to bag the opportunity. West Bengal with its impressive work on solar energy convinced the committee that Kolkata was best suited for the exhibition.

The Koreans were very keen to hold the conference in their country. Hence, we had to make a fresh presentation to the conference members following the voting process and managed to bag it for India, said Ashok Barua, general chairperson of the 18th edition of the conference.

It is an international conference of repute and member countries like Japan, Germany, US competed in the vote, Barua said.

State power department special secretary S P Gon Choudhury, said We have managed to attract the meet since the state generates about 25% of the country’s total solar power. But the real challenge will be to convert the visits into business, Choudhury said.

West Bengal has attracted INR40 billion in solar power production, much of which is expected to go on stream by 2012. Of this, about INR26 billion are in solar equipment manufacturing segment, including solar photovoltaic cells and modules.