India has placed high hopes on solar power delivering a large portion of its 450-gigawatt renewable energy target by 2030 as the nation aims to reduce its fossil-fuel reliance
India has ramped up its solar energy capacity in recent years and the nation is now home to some of the largest power plants.
The South Asian nation has placed high hopes on the technology delivering a large portion of its 450-gigawatt (GW) renewable energy target by 2030 as it aims to reduce its fossil-fuel reliance.
India currently stands third in Asia and fourth in the world in terms of solar power production across its plants, with solar accounting for about 38% of its total renewable energy capacity.
The country’s National Solar Mission was launched in 2010 – when just 10 (megawatts) MW of solar power was installed on the grid – with a target of 20GW set for 2020. But due to significant activity within the solar power sector over the following years, India raised its target to achieve 100GW of solar capacity by 2022.
Here, NS Energy profiles the five largest solar power plants in India.
Top five largest solar power plants in India
1. Bhadla Solar Park – 2,250MW
The Bhadla Solar Park, which is the largest solar power plant in the world, is based in Bhadla village, in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district.
Spanning 14,000 acres, the fully operational power plant has been installed with a capacity of 2,250MW.
The huge solar power plant was developed by multiple entities, such as Rajasthan Solar Park Development Company Limited, Saurya Urja Company, and Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan. Rajasthan’s current solar power consumption is 10% of the state’s total power usage.
2. Shakti Sthala solar power project – 2,050MW
The Shakti Sthala solar power project in Tumakuru district, Karnataka, is now the second-largest solar power plant in India, having previously been the largest of its type in the world.
The 2,050-MW plant was developed by the Karnataka Solar Park Development Corporation Limited (KSPDCL), with help from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). It spans more than 13,000 acres of land.
The 14,800 Indian Rupees crore ($2.1bn) development has reportedly benefited 2,300 farmers, who previously fell victim to the region being located in a semi-arid tract that attracts very little rainfall.
3. Ultra Mega Solar Park – 1,000MW
Based in Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh – another leading Indian state for solar power – the 1,000-MW Ultra Mega Solar Park spans an area of more than 5,932 acres and is the third-largest solar power plant at a single location.
The plant was set up within two years by Andhra Pradesh Solar Power Corporation through a joint venture with Solar Energy Corporation, Andhra Pradesh Generation Corporation and New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation, at an investment of more than Rs7,143 crore ($943m).
A 1,500-MW solar park is set to become operational in the adjacent district of Kadapa, accompanied by two more large-scale solar power plants, which could raise the state’s solar energy capacity by an additional 2,750MW.
4. Rewa Solar Power Project – 750MW
The 750-MW Rewa Solar Power Project is spread over an area of 1,590 acres in the state of Madhya Pradesh and is operated by Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Ltd.
Developed by Mahindra Renewables, Solengeri Power and ACME Solar Holdings, the Rewa solar power plant is one of the major power suppliers to the Delhi Metro – a mass rapid transit system in India’s capital city.
Rewa is the country’s first and only solar project until now to be funded from the Clean Technology Fund and also India’s only solar power plant to obtain a concessional loan from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.
With an investment of Rs2,800 crore ($370m), the commissioning of the plant has reportedly saved Delhi Metro about Rs1,400 crore ($185m) over its project life.
5. Kamuthi solar power plant – 648MW
The Kamuthi solar power plant in Ramanathapuram district, Tamil Nadu, is the fifth-largest plant of its kind in India.
Dedicated to the nation by Adani Green Energy, the 648-MW solar power plant, which consists of 2.5 million solar panels, while covering an area of 2,500 acres, was set up in 2016 with an investment of about Rs4,550 crore ($601m).
Kamuthi was set up by 8,500 workers over eight months and is connected to Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation’s 400KV Kamuthi substation, which distributes power to about 265,000 homes.
The plant is cleaned by every day a robotic system that has its own solar panels to charge it. The state government’s target is to achieve an installed capacity of 3,000MW.