Clean Power

Published on September 24th, 2013 | by Mridul Chadha


India To Set Up Ultra Mega Solar Power Plant — 4,000 MW Capacity

September 24th, 2013 by  

solar panels

Solar Panels
Credit: Wayne National Forest | CC BY 2.0

The Indian government, in partnership with state-owned companies, is planning to set up the largest solar power plant in the world. The planned power project will have an installed capacity of 4,000 MW and will be located in the western state of Rajasthan.

The solar power project will be set up by a joint venture of five government-owned companies – BHEL, Powergrid Corporation, Solar Energy Corporation of India, Hindustan Salts, and Rajasthan Electronics & Instruments Limited. The first phase of the project will comprise of 1,000 MW and is expected to be commissioned in 2016. At 1,000 MW capacity the project will be about 10 times the largest solar power project currently under construction in India.

The capacity of 4,000 MW is very significant in the Indian context. Earlier this year a private utility, Tata Power, commissioned the first coal-fired Ultra Mega Power Plant (UMPP) of installed capacity 4,000 MW. Another three such projects of capacity 3,960 MW each are at various stages of construction.

Interestingly, all these projects are facing critical problems of fuel availability and, as a result, financial viability. These four UMPPs have been awarded to two companies – Tata Power and Reliance Power. These companies have filed petitions with the concerned authorities to allow them to increase the tariff of the electricity sold as they are struggling to access low-cost coal.

While the tariff at which the coal-fired UMPPs are expected to sell the electricity is considerably lower than the lowest tariff being offered by solar photovoltaic (PV) power project developers, the conventional power plants have several disadvantages apart from being environmentally unsustainable.

These power plants are almost completely dependent on imported fuel. Since these power plants have been built with a goal to generate electricity at a lower carbon intensity than other coal-based power plants, they cannot use Indian coal which have lower carbon content compared to imported coal.

Such large-scale renewable energy projects are essential for India’s long-term energy plans. Millions of people still lack access to electricity and India does not have much leeway in terms of greenhouse gas emissions as it is one of the largest emitters in the world.

Read other interesting news related to India’s solar power sector

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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.

  • Anshuman Shrivastava

    Dear All,
    For solar power plant funding and complete solution please contact.

  • m.p singh

    You have 100% discount on power plant, registry and tax

    100 acer farms-near distich Budaun uttar
    Pradesh india,4.50lac/Acres

    total price-

    Above 500 Bigha
    Land (Near 5k.m) on main road of -budaun

    – Bareilly National

    Note 1 Bigha = 1008sq meter

    Rate – 4.50 per Acres (Negotiable)

    This Propety is located on theRoad of Highway.

    Distance of Substation 132Kw 12 km frm Budaun Road – Eata Highway.

    Budaun railway station and Bus stande for
    in about 5 Km from this

    Property on same Budaun – Farrukhabad National Highway.

    3Km. Distance from budaun distich (Connecting Highways and Route).


  • thanks

  • Ivor O’Connor

    It’s like they have a piece of land six miles wide and six miles long. Each year they will finish off a one by six mile patch. In the end it will generate about as much power as one large nuclear power plant.

    • Ronald Brakels

      It should be closer to about 6 by 6 kilometers rather than miles. They are planning to put the first gigawatt on 9.3 square kilometers.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        From the link in the article above

        “The project would 23,000 acre of land out of which 18,000 acre would be provided by Hindustan Salts limited. The tariff is expected to be competitive.”

        23,000 acres equates to 35.9375 square miles. (See

        35.9 is fairly close to 36. Or 6×6 miles

        • Ronald Brakels

          Let me check this. Let’s see, 405 square meters to an acre, times that by 23,000 gives 9,315,000 square meters. There’s a million square meters to a square kilometer, so that gives about 9.3 square kilometers for the first gigawatt of solar. Assuming all 4 gigawatts cover roughly the same area that would total about 37 square kilometers. Does that look right to you?

          • Ivor O’Connor

            I get 4,046.86 square meters to an acre, not 405.

          • Ronald Brakels

            Sorry, yes, I see where I went wrong. Thanks for correcting me. Thirty-six square miles is a lot of space. With 15% efficient first solar thin film panels and at that lattitude they should be able to fit about 14 gigawatts of capacity in there. I guess not all the land is being used for the solar farm.

          • Bob_Wallace

            One has to watch the size of wind and solar farms. Sometimes the area stated is much larger than the actual installation. There may be room for other projects in the same space.

            Probably better to start with some number for watts per sq meter for the panels and add in some extra area for the walkway between racks. Work up from the bottom rather than try to take it off existing projects.

            Adding – with wind farms the total area can be quite misleading. Sometimes turbines are spaced out over a large amount of farmland so wind farm size is large. Sometimes they’re actually quite close together, strung out on a ridge line so if one measured the total area it would be small.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Yes. I hope more details are made available and that it turns out they are doing more with their land.

    • Burnerjack

      Good thing India is so sparsely populated. I really didn’t think they could spare the real estate…

      • Bob_Wallace

        Haven’t been to India, eh?

        • Burnerjack

          No, with a population of 1,237 Billion people, I assumed most of it was kinda crowded. I suppose there are areas of the countryside not so crowded, but I would have also assumed that that land was important for agriculture to feed all those people.

          • Wayne Williamson

            Yeah, that was my thought…but low and behold, they actually have a big desert…It was on the other 4GW article…

          • Bob_Wallace

            There’s a lot of desert and a lot of very non-productive land which is semi-desert.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Here’s a land use map of India. Rajasthan is in the northwest, much of the tan, unproductive land. Camels and goats and not many of them. More of the desert extends to the state below, Gujarat which has also installed a lot of solar.

          • I think project will be located at a dried salt lake bed near a city called Sambhar. The land is owned by Hindustan Salts Limited, one of the companies in joint venture.

          • Burnerjack

            Ya just gotta love websites like this. Good discussion, very illuminating. Thanks Bob (yet again!). How is it THEY can do this, but in the US, some environmentalists of one flavor or another throw up road block after road block?
            One thing I have noticed flying in the US, when flying in to most of the high population cities where sun is abundant, such as the LA area, for example, is the enormous amount of commercial rooftop acreage. It would seem to be a natural move to lease these rooftops for Solar. Added income for the building owners and lower AC loads as the building is now in the shadow of the panels. Great inputs from all!

          • Bob_Wallace

            You might have trouble finding much in the way of roadblocks put in the way of renewables by environmentalists.

            Certainly you’ll be able to find some attempts, basically on the part of a small number of people, but not a lot of results.

            Most of the resistance I’ve seen for renewable projects comes down to NIMBY. That was certainly the case for Cape Wind, “just don’t put where I can see it”. And even then it wasn’t a group of environmentalists but a group of locals, some who would call themselves pro-renewables.

            There was a considerable amount of resistance to wind and solar in the desert but when the feds worked with environmental groups to identify the best places, the least environmentally damaging, most of the resistance fell away.

        • Ivor O’Connor

          We all haven’t had the wonderful experience of traveling extensively through India for long periods of time. Like you have. And those of us that have gone to India probably have only seen airports, hotels, offices, and the short stretches of land that must be traveled to get between the three. Much like most of our experiences here in the USA.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Go. Before it’s all turned into museums and Starbucks.

          • Ivor O’Connor

            Been there. 🙂

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