World record solar plant in the works
India is getting in the solar spirit with plans to build the biggest solar power plant in the world. Officials from the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir signed a new agreement for solar projects with the capacity of 7,500 megawatts (MW). To put that in perspective, right now the largest single solar plant is a California project capable of 550 MW. So, India is not kidding around with its new endeavor.
One of the main reasons for such a massive project is to bring electricity to hundreds of millions of people currently living without it. India has over 1.2 billion residents with nearly 400 million of them having no access to electricity. Once the project is completed, the Indian government predicts it will be able to provide 36,981 solar home lights and street lights to 299 villages.
Another huge perk to expanding power with solar is reducing the country’s dependency on fossil fuels. India currently uses coal for more than half of its power production. By switching to solar, the country expects to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 4 million tons per year.
While coming up with a plan to extend power to undeveloped portions of the country, solar was the most practical choice. Solar is already cheaper than diesel power in India, it has the perfect location that receives a plethora of sunlight, and a great amount of open space to build. The 5,000 MW project is planned to be in Ladakh, located in the Himalayas. Union Minister Farooq Abdullah said at the agreement signing, Ladakh could easily host 30,000 MW of solar power capacity, proving the opportunities with solar are almost endless in India.
So far 244 villages have already been supplied with solar home lighting and around 3 MW have been installed for special projects. Solar power plants will also be installed in 69 district and sub-district hospitals as well as 107 community centers. Right now there is no set date for full operation, but it’s clear India is making huge strides in the renewable energy sector.
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