Indonesia has the potential to become one of the world's largest solar panel suppliers by utilizing its reserves of silica sand or quartz sand, Minister of Investment and Head of Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) Bahlil Lahadalia said on July 21.
He indicated that President Joko Widodo had instructed BKPM to seek investors not only in the nickel, copper, or tin sector.
"We have one of the biggest reserves of quartz sand in the world. It is the main raw material to produce glass and solar panels, which are needed in the green industry," he said during a presentation on investment realization in the second quarter of 2023 in Jakarta.
Therefore, he said that they are exploring cooperation with the Xinyi Group, the world's largest glass company in China, which is interested in investing in Rembang, Batam, Riau Islands. "Xinyi is the world's leading glass manufacturing company, controlling more than 20% of the world's market share," Lahadalia informed.
As directed by President Jokowi, he has coordinated with the related ministry, Batam Concession Agency (BP Batam), as well as landowners to support the Chinese investor's investment plan.
Although he was reluctant to provide further details of plan, including the value of the planned investment from China, Lahadalia assured that the results were quite positive.
He also mentioned that Xinyi Group is planning to build the second-largest glass factory in the world in Indonesia, second only to its main facility in China. It is expected that the factory will make Indonesia one of the world's largest solar panel suppliers, he noted.
"We do not want Indonesia to advance in the nickel sector only. We also want to utilize the quartz sand. We do not rule out the possibility that in the future, we will also ban quartz sand export," he said.
Xinyi Group, the parent company of Xinyi Glass and Xinyi Solar, is a Hong Kong-based multinational company. It is one of the largest glass producers, with a wide range of glass products used in the automotive, construction, and energy sectors. The firm is also the global leader in solar panel manufacturing, leveraging advanced and sustainable technologies to support the global transition to renewable energy.
Inonesia’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Arifin Tasrif recently also indicated, the huge potential of renewable energy should be optimized to support national energy security and achieve the new and renewable energy mix target.
The new and renewable energy potential came from solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy, geothermal and sea energy, with total potential of up to 3,689 GW.
According to Tasrif, the government already has the map that tells where these energy sources are located. The biggest solar potential is in East Nusa Tenggara, West Kalimantan, and Riau that have higher solar radiation.
Indonesian government also has several policies for encouraging the use of new and renewable energy, including the New Energy Renewable Energy Bill (RUU EBET) that will be the main foundation for the country to conduct faster energy transition.