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Atlanta-based Suniva Powers India's Commonwealth Games Stadium With 1 MW Rooftop Solar PV System

Keeping its promise to make the 2010 Commonwealth Games the ‘greenest ever‘, India hired services of Atlanta-based Suniva and Reliance Industries’ Solar Energy Group to install the largest rooftop solar energy power system in the country at the Thyagaraj Stadium.


Suniva was chosen to supply its mono-crystalline solar cells that have efficiency about 18.2 percent. The company was founded by the current CTO Ajeet Rahotgi who is also a professer at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Benefitting from the close ties with Georgia Tech, the company was able to license this high efficiency solar cell technology.

Suniva has been expanding its base in India. Last month it commissioned a 3 MW solar PV plant in Karnataka which supplies power to local farmers for irrigation.

The company uses the ARTisun technology which involves screen printing for making contact lines on the solar cells. With thinner cells the production cost is reduced while the innovations like making the contact lines very thin improve the efficiency of the cell by freeing up more area to collect sunlight.

Power demands for stadiums are usually met by diesel generators however, the Thayagraj Studium has quite large having almost 20,000 m² area which is perfectly suitable for installation of such a massive solar energy system. The power system comprises of 3460 280Wp modules which are expected to generate 1.4 million kWh annually. Any surplus power generated would be fed into the grid.

The list of green features of the stadium is a long one. A 2.5 MW gas turbine worth more than $4 million, also purchased from the US, has also been installed in the stadium. The exhaust gases from the turbine will be a part of the cogeneration system that will use the exhaust gases to power a vapor absorption machine to meet the stadium’s air conditioning needs.

The material used in construction of the stadium is also eco-friendly. Apart from the fly-ash bricks, double-glazed glasses have also been used which transmit light but block heat thus reducing the air-conditioning load. The stadium has rainwater harvesting system, a mandatory requirement for government buildings in New Delhi, and an affluent treatment plant to enable recycling and reuse of water. With a long list of energy efficiency measures the authorities aim to gets a ‘Gold level’ LEED certification.

New Delhi will host the Commonwealth Games from 3rd to 14th October this year.

The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views and do not represent those of TERI/TERI University where the author is currently pursuing a Master’s degree.

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Written By

Mridul 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.

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