Karnataka (an Indian state) recently inaugurated the first phase of the solar park in the drought-prone area of Tumkur district, approximately 180 km from Bangalore (officially known as Bengaluru). After completing this solar power plant, it will produce around 2,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from solar power. Located at the village Pavagada, it is poised to be the world’s largest solar park when operational.
Having spread over 13,000 acres covering five villages shall be a benchmark and have a uniqueness of common people’s participation in the power model. In the first phase of this Shakti Sthal, the solar plant is expected to be soon operational, producing 600 MW of electric power. The government of Karnataka has stated, ” The balance 1400 MW will be operational by the end of the year 2018″. This power plant falls under the Karnataka Solar Policy 2014-2021, issued by the government.
The land required for this power project is taken on a 25-year lease by the Karnataka government from the farmers. They are being paid an annual rental fee of Rs 21,000 per acre with a 5% increase every two years, as stated by the government official. The government’s primary intention for having this kind of gigantic power plant was that with the area being a drought-affected, the farmers were on the move (this has been continuously declared as drought-hit over 54 times in the last 60 years). The second reason is the scarcity of electricity in nearby towns and cities.
The development of this park was initiated by the Karnataka Solar Power Development Corp. Ltd (KSPDCL) in the year 2015 with a joint venture between Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) and Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI).
Though NTPC (National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, an Indian Public Sector Undertaking Ltd) pulled out of the project recently, this project producing clean/green energy is sure to relieve the drought-affected area residents. It is also creating job opportunities and economic growth in this region.