India has recently unveiled the world’s largest solar plant. The facility created by the Adani Group – with an installed capacity of 648MW incurring an investment of around Rs 4,550 crore, has taken over the top spot from the Topaz solar plant in California which has an installed capacity of 550 MW. The facility located at Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu covers an area of about 10 sq km and comprises 3.80 lakh foundations, 2.5 million individual solar panels, 27,000 mt of structure, 576 inverters, and 154 transformers along with 6,000-km cables.
The company statement reads, “The plant is set up at Kamuthi, Ramanathapuram, in Tamil Nadu with an investment of Rs 4,550 crore. It is part of the state government's ambitious target of generating 3,000 mw as per the solar energy policy unveiled by the government in 2012.”
The project has been completed in 8 months and is clean on a daily basis by robotic systems which is charged by its own solar panels. With this India has increased its total installed solar capacity past 10 GW mark.
While India is fast adding capacity in solar power, it will still need to do much more in order to fulfil its COP21 target of producing 40% of its power from non-fossil fuels by 2030. In solar power alone the target is an ambitious 100 GW by 2022. This is a significant increase considering the total installed capacity worldwide was pegged at 181 GW in 2014.
With increased public as well as private investments in the space, India is poised to become the third largest solar market in the world next year onwards behind China and the US. Even the World Bank Group is helping India achieve its plans with loan of more than $1 billion in FY2017 which the institution claimed to be its largest ever support in solar power in any country.
In fact, given the large land mass and availability of sunlight, the nation has a huge potential in harnessing the solar energy. A study by Deloitte and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) estimated India’s solar power potential at 749 GW. However, barely 1.5% of this potential is currently being tapped. The focus on renewable energy is particularly significant to reduce the carbon footprint and also bring down the air pollution level.
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