Since 2009, India has been a major player when it comes to renewable energy sources. As one of the world’s leaders in wind farming technology, the country has been turning its attention towards solar as well. With some of the most ideal solar collection landscape available, India stands to produce a great amount of energy from what’s available. As of 2013 the government of India, in partnership with local companies, plans on developing the largest solar array in the world with an expected generation of 4,000 megawatts.
Real Estate Speculations
Currently, approximately 35,000 square kilometers of the Thar Desert has been designated as prime real estate for future solar projects. As India experiences approximately 300 sunny days per year, the area is an excellent location for solar power generation. The allotted space could accommodate up to 2100 gigawatts of power if completely utilized – until more efficient methods are developed in the meantime.
What About the Ultra Mega Power Plants?
The UMPPs of India are impressive to say the least. They can generate as much power as the solar arrays are expected to but they use coal-fired methods. Currently, these power plants are facing a problem of available fuel sources. It is this reason why the proposed solar project has gained so much momentum. There is no fuel that needs to be paid for in the process of collecting sunlight. Although some will point out that the Sun has fuel that needs to burn in order for the panels to work. However, it is a fuel that humans do not need to pay for, import, mine or otherwise directly alter.
This new project of four gigawatts of power is impressive. However, other plants are planning development in the meantime. In 2014, plans to include an estimated 2.8 gigawatts of power are expected to follow through for various areas around India. The largest of these investments is from the state of Tamil Nadu with a bid for 700 megawatts of power.
Not Just for Power
Solar collection isn’t merely for those looking to power homes and businesses. Bangalore has the most rooftop solar water heating systems in the country. It is also the first in India to offer an incentive program for those installing rooftop solar systems. Currently, these systems are mandatory in all new constructions much like they are for areas of California in order to meet the 2020 goal of sustainable construction.
One of the biggest drawbacks to all of the power generation methods in India is the lack of funding. Many projects have been postponed or put on indefinite standby because the money isn’t there to accomplish all of the goals that the country has in mind. While some of the funding has been attributed to loans from organizations such as the Asian Development Bank, many projects may not be commissioned in 2014.
Despite the lack of funding and bureaucratic red-tape that developers in India face, they realize that something else needs to be done about meeting ever-growing demands on power. Nearly 90 percent of the coal used in power plants is imported, which is costing a great deal of money. The potential is great for India – as long as the drive is equally as great for future sustainability from the people.
This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from WhiteFence.com. She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @ gmail.com.