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Clean Energy: India builds world’s largest solar park! Plans to achieve clean energy target

FE Online
India clean energy target, clean energy leader India, Pavagada solar park, Piyush Goyal, renewable energy generation in India, world's largest solar park

Soon after India announced its ambitious plans for power generation, multiple deliberations were carried out over whether India would be able to achieve its goal and become the world leader in clean energy. India has set a seemingly impossible target of expanding the capacity of renewable energy generation to 175 GW by 2022. However, India might just be able to achieve that goal. A positive step in the direction is the now fully operational solar power plant in Karnataka's Pavagada. It is the world's largest solar park and it has been functional since December last year. The news about the park was also shared by Union Minister Piyush Goyal on microblogging site Twitter on Monday, who captioned it, "India takes lead in clean energy."

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The park has been developed by Karnataka Solar Park Development Corporation Limited (SDPDCL), a joint venture between Karnataka government's Karnataka Renewable Energy (KRE) and Government of India's Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI). The park spans over 13,000 acres and had an initial capacity of 2,000 MW. The capacity of 50 MW was later added to it, making the plant's total capacity 2,050 MW or 2.05 GW.

The park has been built over drought-hit land. For the purpose of this park, the land has not been purchased from the farmers but leased from them. The farmers, who had no use of this ruined land, are now earning Rs 21,000 per acre every year from this land. This amount can be increased by five per cent every two years. As many as 2,300 farmers are therefore benefitting from the park set-up on their lands. Moreover, the government did not have to go through the lengthy procedure of land acquisition, creating a win-win situation.

India might be able to achieve its ambitious energy generation target, contrary to a CRISIL report which said its goal would only be achieved by 2024. Until September 2019, a capacity of 82.5 GW had been installed in the country. Moreover, according to the government, additional works for 31 GW capacity would be completed by March 2021, meaning that by March 2021, India would have a renewable energy generation capacity of 113.5 GW. An extra 39 GW was under the bidding process in October 2019, according to the Indian Government. If the bids turned out successful, it would leave around 23 GW for the government to plan and work out.

Currently, 63 per cent of India's power requirements are met using conventional thermal methods, which is a major cause of concern keeping in mind the rapidly depleting resources and the increasing harm caused by the use of these methods.