Pavagada Solar Park – the 1st phase of the park was inaugurated by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah. Yes, the Sun is recognized as one of the greatest sources of energy. Solar energy is green energy that can be used to provide electricity, run cars, etc. The limits of this power are virtually none.
Given the rising effect of global warming, solar energy has been recognized as one of the most viable alternatives to energy created by fossil fuels. On March 2nd, 2018, the Karnataka Government inaugurated the world’s largest solar park to harness this energy.
Pavagada Solar Park – Shakti Sthala
The park, known as Shakti Sthala is located around 180 km from Bengaluru in the Pavagada region of the Tumkur district. It is spread over 13,000 acres of land that has been taken from 2,300 farmers on a 25-year lease. The total capacity of this solar park is said to be 2,000 megawatts.
In its first phase, it will generate 600 MW of power. Work for the remaining 1,400 MW will be commissioned by the end of the year. This will help increase Karnataka’s power capacity from 23,379 MW and help bridge the gap between demand and supply of power. The budget for this park is calculated to be approximately Rs 16,500 crore.
Quick Facts about Pavagada Solar Park
- Address: Tirumani Village, Pavagada Taluk, Thirumani – 572136 (Map)
- Construction Began: October 2016
- Operated By: Karnataka Solar Power Development Corporation Ltd. (KSPDCL)
- Type: Flat-panel PV
- Site Area: 13,000 acres (53 km2),
- Site Resource: 5.5-6.0 kWh/m2 per day
- Power Generation: Units operational – 600 MW , Under Construction – 1,400 MW
Shakti Sthala – Empowering Karnataka
Shakti Sthala was planned as part of Karnataka’s Solar Policy 2014-2021. This aims at reducing the dependence on traditional power sources by moving to more environmentally friendly energy sources.
It is also part of the “Nava Karnataka Nirmana” campaign by the Siddaramaiah. This solar plant also ties in with the central government’s plan of generating 100 GW of solar power by 2020.
KSPDCL and Pavagada Solar Park
The Karnataka Solar Power Development Corp. Ltd (KSPDCL) was created in March 2015 as a joint venture between the Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI) and Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) to develop this park. Under the plug and play model used by the KSPDCL, blocks of land are acquired and after having received the necessary government approvals, this land is auctioned to solar power developers. Thus, there has been zero land acquisition for this project.
The project has been executed within 2 years but it has not been without its setbacks. NTPC Ltd was initially supposed to buy 600MW of power and supply them to the state electricity supply companies at a reduced cost but backed out a month before the project was inaugurated. Auctions for developing 1,200 MW capacity also had to be postponed and legal complications have set back the development of another 860MW.
Apart from creating an alternative source of energy, the park also aims at providing employment for locals. Given the drought faced by this area in the past few years, this could help curb the migration rate or people from this region. The farmers the land has been rented from are being paid a rent of Rs 21,000 per acre. This amount may be increased by 5% every two years.