Total installed solar power plant capacity across India currently adds up to about 30 gigawatts
India stands third in Asia and fourth in the world in terms of solar power production across its plants. This currently accounts for about 38% of its total capacity of renewable energy. The country also claims to own the world’s largest solar park, located in Rajasthan.
India’s National Solar Mission launched in 2010 — a time when just 10MW of solar power was installed — with a target of 20GW set for the end of the decade. However, due to significant activity within the solar power sector over the following years, India has raised its target by several notches and now aims to achieve 100GW of solar power capacity by 2022.
Some of the country’s biggest solar power plants are found in the states of Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
Top five solar power plants in India
NS Energy profiles the five largest solar power plants currently operating in India.
1. Bhadla Solar Park – 2,250MW
Claimed to be The largest solar power plant in the world, the Bhadla Solar Park is located in Bhadla village, in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district. Spanning 14,000 acres, the fully operational power plant has been installed with a capacity of nearly 2,250 megawatts (MW).
This huge solar power plant was developed by multiple entities, such as Rajasthan Solar Park Development Company Limited (subsidiary of Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited), Saurya Urja Company (joint venture company of the government of Rajasthan and IL&FS Energy Development Company), and Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan (joint venture between Adani Enterprises subsidiary Adani Renewable Energy Park and government of 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 largest fully operational solar park until the end of 2019, the 2,050MW Shakti Sthala solar power project in Pavagada taluk, Tumakuru district, Karnataka, is now the second-largest solar power plant in India after Rajasthan’s Bhadla.
Developed by the Karnataka Solar Park Development Corporation Limited (KSPDCL) — a joint venture between the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and the Karnataka Renewable Energy (KREDL), with help from the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) — the Pavagada Solar Park spans more than 13,000 acres of land. The Rs. 14,800 crore (approx. $1.95 billion) venture has reportedly benefited 2,300 Pavagada farmers, who were finding it difficult due to the region being located in a semi-arid tract that attracts very little rainfall.
3. Ultra Mega Solar Park – 1,000MW
Situated in Orvakal, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh, which is another leading Indian state in terms of solar power, the 1,000MW 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 over Rs. 7,143 crore (approx. $943 million).
A 1,500MW 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
Madhya Pradesh’s 750MW Rewa Solar Power Project is spread over an area of 1,590 acres 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.
This is India’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. Riding on an investment of Rs. 2,800 crore (approx. $370 million), the commissioning of this plant reportedly saved Delhi Metro Rs 1,400 crore (approx. $185 million) over its project life.
5. Kamuthi solar power plant – 648MW
Kamuthi, in Ramanathapuram district of the southern state of Tamil Nadu houses the fifth-largest solar power plant in India. Dedicated to the nation by Adani Group’s Adani Green Energy (Tamil Nadu) Ltd, the 648MW solar power plant, which consists of 2.5 million solar panels, while covering an area of 2,500 acres, was set up with an investment of about Rs. 4,550 crore (approx. $601 million), in 2016. Kamuthi solar power plant was set up by 8,500 workers over eight months. The 648MW capacity plant is connected to Tamil Nadu Transmission Corporation’s 400KV Kamuthi substation, which distributes power to around 265,000 homes.
Each day, the Kamuthi solar power plant is cleaned by 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 soon.