India Completes World’s Largest Solar Park… Pakistan Plans a Bigger One

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Solar PV array

India has brought the world’s largest solar power plant online.

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At the end of November, the world’s biggest solar power plant was completed in the southern part of India and its already generating power.

Spread over 2,500 acres in the Tamil Nadu province, the new solar plant replaces the Topaz Solar Farm in Riverside County, Calif., as the largest solar power farm in one location in the world. The Indian solar farm can generate 648 megawatts of green electricity, while Topaz generates 550 mw. India aims to power about 60 million homes by using solar energy by 2022. The Tamil Nadu plant, built by Adani Power, can light up about 150,000 homes. India aims to produce 40% of its electricity from renewables by 2022.

Super Solar Park

Here are some statistics related to the Tamil Nadu plant:

  • The site in Tamil Nadu is the size of nearly 60 Taj Mahals.
  • The area of the crystalline silicon photovoltaic solar panels alone can hold 476 soccer fields.
  • Includes 380,000 foundations, 2.5 million solar modules, 27,000 metric tons of structural steel and concrete.
  • Has 576 inverters, 154 transformers and 6,000 kilometers of cables (almost the equivalent distance between India to Australia).
  • Overall cost of the mega-structure was approximately $679 million.

Even as the Indian government and its people were basking in the glow of being number, came fresh information from neighboring Pakistan. A minister there announced that his country would be setting up the world’s largest solar park of 1,000 mw as part of its plan to promote production of renewable energy in the country. Everybody wants to be the biggest and best, apparently.

It’s Not Easy Being Number One

Pakistan’s Minister of Climate Change Zahid Hamid was quoted in media reports as saying his nation had enacted the National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Act 2016 to promote effective conservation and efficient use of energy. The Minister had led a Pakistani delegation in the recently-concluded COP22 Conference in Morocco where he highlighted the achievements made to address the impact of climate change.

While having the largest solar park may, indeed, be a fleeting thing — Topaz topped two other solar parks in California before it was passed — Tamil Nadu is one of nine operated by Adani Green Energy Limited across India and the company has set itself an ambitious goal of generating 10,000 megawatts of solar power within the next five years. The plant has a huge number of solar panels which are cleaned daily by a robotic system, itself powered by its own solar panel.

The solar farm is part of the Indian government’s ambitious target to reduce carbon emissions by 33-35%. Some news reports claimed the new plant had pushed India’s installed solar capacity past 10 gigawatts, which makes the country the world’s third-biggest solar market after all the panels go online next year, just behind China and the U.S.

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