Clean Power Gujarat Solar Park

Published on August 26th, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha


Politics Threatens World’s Largest Solar Power Project

August 26th, 2014 by  

Gujarat Solar Park

An aerial view of India’s largest solar park in Gujarat, India

An unpopular government’s legacy has become a burden for the new one, which could potentially lead to the scrapping of what has been planned as the world’s largest solar power project.

The Rajasthan state government in India has reportedly asked the central government to scrap plans to set up a 4,000 MW solar photovoltaic power project. The state government claims that the proposed project will threaten thousands of migratory birds that flock near the proposed project site every year.

Sources close to the government, however, claim that the Rajasthan Chief Minister is not too keen to pursue a project that had been planned during the tenure of the previous government, which was led by the United Progressive Alliance.

The proposed project is supposed to come up near Sambhar Lake in eastern Rajasthan. Officials of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy claim that about a fourth of the planned project area has been listed as environmentally and ecologically sensitive, and that area had already been excluded.

According to reports, the state Chief Minister wants to scrap the 4,000 MW solar power project, and pursue an ambitious state-directed solar power policy. Gujarat, under now-Prime Minister Narendra Modi, had earned global limelight after it established one of the largest solar power farms. To date, Gujarat continues to lead all Indian states in terms of installed capacity.

The central government had announced a budgetary outlay of ₹500 crore ($83 million US) this year for four ultra mega solar power projects across as many states. One of them has been proposed in the Rann of Kutch, another ecologically sensitive area in Gujarat.

Five government-owned companies – Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd, Power Grid Corporation of India, Solar Energy Corporation of India, Hindustan Salts Limited and Rajasthan Electronics and Instruments Limited – have already signed agreements to go ahead with the project. It would be interesting to see what stand the central government, led by Mr Modi, takes regarding the future of this ambitious project.

Image Credit: Gujarat Power Corporation Limited

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About the Author

currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

  • JamesWimberley

    Frankly, this is good news. Politics are intervening on the side of common sense.
    1. There are few significant economies of scale in pv solar above 5 MW or so. Source: Mark Bolinger, the NREL/Lawrence Berkeley expert on utility solar (link). Elsewhere in the world, pv plants therefore top out at 150MW or so.
    2. Megaplants are necessarily in remote locations, which raises construction and transmission costs. With a poor grid like India’s, they also lower supply reliability compared to an equal capacity distributed in multiple smaller plants.

    • Patrick Linsley

      Also if it’s successful may be it can lead India away from it’s ‘edifice complex’ that has been in existence since the Nehru days (e.g the dam building program and his proclamation that gigantic dams would be ‘the temples of modern India’). Really the parts of India that need power are the far flung villages that already get short shrift and have to deal with black outs due to the fact that cities get more than their fair share of new infrastructure equipment.

      Edit: I also fully understand that in just about any modern ‘democracy’ politicians just love mega projects they can put their name to and it isn’t an India or poor nation only problem

  • joseph

    Politics ? Where is nature now ? How is it ok to set up a solar power plant as big as 4000 mw by destroying a bird santuary(where some of the most endangered birds visit).
    Dude solar power plant wont help global warming if you destroy forest to set it up.

    • Karn

      It’s not a forest it’s a salt water lake in a barren area .

  • DGW

    Instead, install a solar panel on every home. Put the power where the user is and give nature a break.

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