India is on schedule to be the world’s third biggest solar market by the next year #Hindustan360

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Over the past few years, India made efficiency upgrades to its transmission grid to reduce the losses. Still, almost 20 per cent of the total generation, which is more than twice the world average, doesn’t reach intended customers. View more at #Hindustan360.

The facility in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, has a capacity of 648 MW and covers an area of 10sq km. This makes it the largest solar power plant at a single location, taking the title from the Topaz Solar Farm in California, which has a capacity of 550 MW. The solar plant, built in an impressive 8 months, is cleaned every day by a robotic system, charged by its own solar panels.

At full capacity, it is estimated to produce enough electricity to power approximately 150,000 homes. The project is comprised of 2.5 million individual solar modules, and cost approximately $679m to build. The new plant has helped nudge India’s total installed solar capacity across the 10 GW mark, according to a statement by research firm ‘Bridge to India’, joining only a handful of countries which can make this claim.

As solar power increases, India is expected to become the world’s third-biggest solar market from next year onwards, after China and the US. Despite the fast-growing solar power industry, India will still need to increase its take-up of solar panels if it is to achieve the ambitious targets set by the government. By 2022, India aims to power 60 million homes by the sun. It is part of the Indian government’s ambitious targets to produce 40 percent of its power from non-fossil fuels by 2030.

This goal has been praised by environment groups and is hoped will also help reduce the country’s problem with air quality. At the beginning of this month, the pollution in New Delhi reached its worst levels in 17 years.

Facts about Solar Plants in India

  • Gujarat-based Adani group had signed a MoU with the Tamil Nadu government to set up the largest solar photovoltaic plant in India at a cost of Rs 4,536 crore in Ramanathapuram district.
  • Although a solar plant of 1,000 MW was proposed, the capacity was later downgraded to 648 MW as a single large tract of land was not available for the project.
  • About 4,000 acres of land was acquired on lease and only barren lands were acquired from individuals. No government land was given for setting up the plant.
  • When this solar power plant will work to its full capacity, it will account for nearly 10 per cent of India’s installed solar capacity of around seven gigawatts (GW). It is likely to produce enough power for around 150,000 local households each year.
  • On June 13, the power plant became operational after five substations successfully connected 360 MW of power to the national grid.
  • Even at 360 MW, the output of the solar park is higher than India’s first solar power park located in Charanka district of Gujarat. The current capacity of Charanka power plant is 345 MW.
  • The Adani Group had come under criticism for selling solar power to Tamil Nadu government at a much higher rate (Rs 7.01/kWh) than national average (Rs 4.70/kWh).
  • Tamil Nadu government also faced flak for fixing such a high tariff in September 2014 and sticking to the same tariff despite a visible fall in price in other states.
  • This solar plant, which is a part of Indian government’s plan to build 25 large-scale solar parks between 500 MW and 1,000 MW over five years, will sell solar power to the state government for 25 years. That indicates a huge loss to the state exchequer.
  • In February 2016, a fire broke out at the solar power plant damaging four solar panels. The fire had broken out when power was being fed into the local grid on a trial basis.

View more at #Hindustan360.