Kamuthi Solar Power Project in Tamil Nadu, India>>>
Featuring over 2.5 million individual solar PV modules, and on 2,500 acres in the town of Kamuthi in the Ramanathapuram district; the Kamuthi Solar Power Project supplies energy to ~300,000 homes. The Kamuthi Solar Power Project is a 648 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) farm in Tamil Nadu, India. It cost US $710 million, and became operational in 2016. As a result, India became the #3 country in the world for operational utility-scale solar PV parks, behind only China and the United States. To reach the third spot, India had to leapfrog the United Kingdom, and this solar farm gave them just enough edge.
Adani ventures into solar energy with Kamuthi
Kamuthi was built and funded by Adani power, a company which was founded in 1996 as an energy trading company; and since became India’s largest private energy company. In 2011, Adani became the largest private thermal power generating company in India. Adani took their first step into power generation with a massive coal power project in Mundra (built in 4+ stages between 2009-2012). This huge solar energy plant – Kamuthi – was Adani’s first venture into massive solar projects; and as Adani begins to look beyond coal, into sustainable energy, so too does the whole country of India seek a greener energy future.
How Long Did it Take to Build Kamuthi?
The Kamuthi Solar Power Project is a massive structure, however it was built in only eight months. This feat was accomplished through the dedication of 8,500 team members, who worked 24 hours a day to complete the project. Perhaps as a result of the quick and efficient build, this project cost significantly less than the Topaz Solar Plant, an only slightly smaller sized plant than Kamuthi, but still a relatively large solar plant, in the Mojave desert.
Who Had the World’s Largest Solar Farm Prior to Kamuthi?
The record for world’s largest individual solar PV farm prior to Kamuthi belonged to the Topaz Solar Plant in California, which has a total capacity of 550 megawatts, took 2 years to build, and cost $2.5 billion. The Kamuthi plant, by comparison, has a capacity of 648 megawatts took ~1/3 less time to develop, at ~1/3 the price. However, both of these solar plants have since been surpassed by subsequent developments of even larger solar PV parks; in India, China, and other parts of the world.
Both the Kamuthi and Topaz solar farms have been eclipsed in size by even bigger solar parks, again mostly in India (although some of the largest solar PV parks are elsewhere in the world; most substantially in China). China, the US, and India, stand as world leaders in the production of large solar farms, but other countries also have significant large solar projects.
Even larger than Kamuthi, is the Longyangxia Dam Solar Park in China, at 850 MW, which went operational in February 2017. The 1 GW Kurnool Ultra Mega Solar Park in in the south Indian province of Andhra Pradesh became fully operational in July 2017. The Noor solar plant in Abu Dhabi has a capacity of over 1 GW, and was fully functional as of June 2019. Tengger Desert Solar Park takes up over 10,000 acres in China’s northwestern Ningxia province, and has a total capacity of 1,547 MW. India has a couple of solar PV parks that will have around 2 GW of capacity when further developed: Bhadla Solar Park and Pavagada Solar Park. India is now finishing development of the 2 GW Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district.
How Green is India?
India was the first country worldwide to set up an official governmental department of non-traditional energy resources, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. India has been working towards more sustainable energy sources since the 1980s. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, whose mission statement is to “increase the share of clean power, increase the availability of energy and improve its access, improve energy affordability, and maximize energy equity”, plans for India to generate 40% of the country’s electricity from renewable resources by 2030. Renewable energy currently accounts for over 1/3 of electrical generation in India, and well over 1/3 of energy production capacity in the country. India has a goal of powering over 60 million Indian homes with solar energy by 2022.
What Plans Does India Have for More Solar Plants?
India will soon have developed the world’s newest, largest solar power parks with other ultra-high capacity solar power parks – Pavagada and Bhadla Solar Parks. India is developing approximately 25 more large solar parks, with capacities around, or over, 1 GW; and now even two 2 GW solar parks (the Bhadla Solar Park, and the Pavagada Solar Park). India is also focusing on bringing clean electricity to remote villages and is taking on many other environmental sustainability initiatives. India, along with China, is continuing to work on environmental sustainability measures like solar farms and other renewable energy projects as part of the transition these countries are in the process of making; from coal-based energy generation to supply a large share of these countries’ electricity needs, to renewable energy like solar power. Newly developed large solar farms in India, and throughout Asia and the Middle East, will have a substantial, positive impact on the environmental health of the planet.
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