WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
- Solar power is now the cheapest form of electricity in 58 countries, with more capacity coming online that number’s only going to get bigger
China might be largest producer of solar energy in the world, but neighbouring India is equally ambitious. In the next few years the country’s expected to become the world’s third largest solar market after China and the USA and now they’ve closed the gap even more by bringing the world’s largest solar power plant online – a fleeting record it’ll loose in 2020 when Morocco’s Ouarzazate Noor cranks up to full capacity.
The Adani Group’s new site in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is huge, covering over 10 square kilometers and it’s got a capacity of 648 megawatts (MW) – nearly 100 MW more than the previous record holder, the Topaz Solar Farm in California.
The new plant took eight months to build, uses a staggering 2.5 million individual solar modules and cost a whopping $679m and it’s estimated it’ll produce enough electricity to power about 150,000 homes.
Made up of five solar power plants the project has helped push India’s total installed solar capacity across the 10 gigawatt (GW) mark – something that only a handful of other countries can claim. And as a signatory of the Paris Climate Accord India’s set to meet its renewable energy commitments three years ahead of time and exceed them by nearly half – by 2027 the country wants at least 60% of all of its electricity to come from non-fossil sources.
Today solar only accounts for 16% of India’s renewable energy capacity but by 2022 it’s set to contribute over half of their renewables target, in other words over 100 GW. So expect more, larger installations over the coming years – 33 solar parks in 21 states, with a capacity of at least 500 megawatts each in all – that’s what commitment looks like.