Clean Power

Published on July 23rd, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha


Another Indian State Joins Solar Power Race With 1,000 MW PV Project

July 23rd, 2014 by  

Gujarat Solar Park

An aerial view of the Charanka Solar Park in Gujarat, India

Indian states seem to have gotten into a race to develop the largest solar power projects. This competition is evident clearly in the case of India’s newest state Telangana and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra Pradesh government has announced plans to set up a 1,000 MW solar photovoltaic power project. The state had its boundaries redrawn recently after the new state of Telagana was born as the 29th state of India. Both the states have expressed shortage of power supply and power generation assets.

A number of private companies had set up gas-based power projects in erstwhile Andhra Pradesh due to the presence of natural gas basins along its coast. The natural gas production expected from these basins and required to run the power plants could not be realised, however. The matter has now attracted political and economic scrutiny while power plants remain non-operational for want of natural gas.

The erstwhile Andhra Pradesh government had signed an agreement with the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in February this year to set up a 1,000 MW solar park in Mahbubnagar district. The district now falls within the boundaries of Telangana. As a result, the new Andhra Pradesh government is now planning to set up a similar project within its boundaries.

The trend to establish large solar parks was kicked off by Gujarat. Gujarat government established the Charanka solar park that has an installed capacity of more than 200 MW. The park has a capacity to house almost 600 MW of solar PV projects. With the establishment of the solar park, Gujarat became India’s leading state in terms of installed solar power capacity. Now a number of Indian states are planning to replicate this success.

The neighbouring state of Karnataka had announced plans in 2012 to set up a 500 MW solar park as part of its ambitious solar power policy. The central government is planning to set up four ultra mega solar power projects across the country. These projects will have capacity between 2,000 MW and 4,000 MW depending on the site. The finance ministry has announced an outlay of Rs 500 crore ($83 million) to set up these projects in Rajasthan, Jammu & Kashmir, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat.

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.

  • EVBlogger

    I see lot of cynical people when it comes to projects with India or China, reality bites right…
    Parks are set up to big, but its a location where multiple small produces will be set up, so that common infrastructure can be provided like transmission.
    For me any solar project small / big is a positive gain , whether they involve machismo or bribery.. Do u think America got rid of bribery completely…. think again…. those comments are out of context in this forum….

    Developing countries always have unreliable power, as their demand grows faster than their production grows, what ever that add to address is a welcome. Stop whining ladies….

    • Bob_Wallace

      ” Stop whining ladies….”

      Come on, that sort of stuff doesn’t help.

      Large single location projects increases transmission issues. Distributed generation, where possible, minimizes transmission.

      Also, large projects increase variability. Distributed solar/wind tends to smooth things out.

      • Evblogger

        So as bribery /machismo. Just used that word, as a retort…
        I did not expect bribery comment from you bob, i do follow ur comments regularly..

        cat fight aside…. let come to business
        collocated with thermal power plants helps to use same infrastructure, and distribution system, India promotes distributed power as much as big power projects. It need big as well as small plants.
        India promotes use of biogas and solar water pumps in rural areas, and solar water heaters in urban, and lot of different methods.
        ‘200 million tonnes of coal replacement worth of traditional biomass fuel’ by 2010′ is utilized according to estimates….

        Energy saved is Energy produced Produced… Even 5 Kw / 5 GW every unit produced responsibly should be appreciated. Every unit
        saved is bigger than that.
        For good / bad , It is at least in top5 renewable energy producers in world.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Did you read what I wrote?

          “Not aiming this at India. It probably applies most places”

          Do you have any experience in the world? Bribery is rampant in many parts of the world.

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  • JamesWimberley

    Is there any rationale to Indian megaprojects beyond political machismo? In the USA and Chile, solar plants rarely exceed 200 MW. That confirms the commonsense intuition that there are are no significant economies of scale above that. Both countries have grids far more reliable and capacious than India’s ramshackle one, which megaprojects will further overload. What happened to Gandhian self-sufficiency, an ideal which fits distributed solar fat better?

    • Bob_Wallace

      Not aiming this at India. It probably applies most places. But something I’ve heard far more than once is “Big projects create opportunity for big graft”.

      • jeffhre

        Yes. What would Descartes say, not all people are honest therefore not all people working on large green energy projects are honest. And Ghandi would have said it doesn’t matter what the size of the project is, only the heart of the person working on it? Or was that Dr. Seuss?

    • Offgridman

      While the grid in India is only accessible by 30 % of the population (proven numbers) showing the need for expansion of distributed generation. Those that can access it usually can only count on supply fifty percent of the time (proven numbers from industry reports) and for several months of the year are only powered for a couple of hours per day (anecdotal evidence from family members).
      So while there is a great need to get power access to a lot of the population, there’s an equally great need to see that those who do have access have a more reliable supply. Which is why to me that while I agree with your Ghandian model of self sufficiency, there is an equal need for reliable energy for industry so that there can be a alternate shift jobs for more people to be able to afford to be Ghandian.
      You don’t have to just trust my opinion on this either, there was a great article on this site or linked to one of the ones posted in the past couple weeks on how the great dilemma for the success of businesses in India is simply the access to reliable electricity.

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