Blessings from “SUN GOD”….India plans mega solar power project

(photo source The Economic Times Sep 21, 2013)

Almost whole of our country gets large quantities of sunlight, making it ideal for solar power. If we combine this gift from nature with what humans have been doing, we get a ideal solar power boom. Under the auspices of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission majority of solar projects in India are located in Rajasthan utilizing the  desert wasteland.

The fourth-largest energy consumer in the world, India, has taken first step towards utilizing this blessing from “Surya Devta” in setting up world’s largest 4,000 MW ultra-mega solar power project in Rajasthan near Sambhar Lake, west of Jaipur.  This would dwarf all existing PV plants around the world, and would nearly triple India’s existing solar generating capacity in one step.

Six public sector companies (PSU’s) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) towards a joint venture  for building this massive  solar photovoltaic (PV) plant  The plant will occupy 23,000acres (93 square kilometers ). MoU is signed and cabinet approval is awaited for the work to start. The land is already there and the basic infrastructure like roads is also available at the site.

Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd. (New Delhi)  Solar Energy Corporation of India, Hindustan Salts Ltd. (Jaipur, India), Powergrid (Gurgaon, India), Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd. (Shimla, India) and Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Ltd. (Jaipur, India)  are the six state owned companies in this joint venture.

Nature reports that the mega-project will cost $US 4.4 billion, and will take seven years to complete. The plant would go a long ways toward India’s plan to have 20 GW of installed solar capacity by 2022, up from essentially zero only a few years ago. This solar plant is expected to supply 6,400 million units of energy per year and consequently help to reduce CO2 emissions by over 4 million tons per year.

Currently the solar energy park in Gujarat is largest in Asia . Solar panels are  installed and set up  over Narmada water canal to use  space, and keeping it over water, generates 16% more energy, and reduces water evaporation.

Major RES projects like these are required in India rather decentralized rooftop projects for individual needs. Though the latter does not require large transmission and hence practically zero loss. Individual projects are still unaffordable in India.  Average 1 Square Foot of Solar Panel produces 10.6 Watts. You can lit a light of a room for that much. So, for basic appliances like TV, Computer, fridge etc, it will need much more.  60-70 panels plus a large safe and secure terrace ,installation changes all including it comes to around Rs 10,0,00,00 .  Though it’s a one time investment but still the time for returns will be 15 years or more and by that time efficiency of the panels will also go down. That’s why organizations working in alternative or solar energy offer small items like solar cooker , solar heater ,one lamp solar street light and never whole house solar options. Solar energy is good for home in small villages or outside area where  electricity  is not available and where they just need it to light a few bulbs.



ET Bureau Sep 21, 2013, 11.06AM IST
The Hindu ,January 29, 2014 15:39 IST
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy
India solar: MOU signed for 4 GW solar PV project in Rajasthan
India to build world’s largest solar plant



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