Solar Power Current Affairs - 2019

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Shakti Sthala: World’s largest solar park launched in Karnataka

The first phase Shakti Sthala solar park having total capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW) was inaugurated in drought-prone Pavagada region of Tumkur district, Karanataka. It is claimed to be world’s largest solar park.

The park ties in with the Central Government’s scheme to generate 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power by 2020. It has been executed within record time of two years, with zero land acquisition

Key Facts

The park’s development was initiated with creation of Karnataka Solar Power Development Corp. Ltd (KSPDCL) in March 2015 as joint venture between Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).

KSPDCL had used “plug and play” model for development of park, under which it acquires and develops land as blocks for solar power generation, embedded with required government approvals and gives it out to solar power developers (SPDs) through auctions.

The solar park is spread over 13,000 acres and five villages. The land was taken on 25-year lease by government from around 2,300 farmers. In return, these farmers are paid annual rental of Rs.21,000 per acre, with scope for 5% increase every two years.

The first phase of the Rs. 16,500 crore park will generate 600MW power, while the balance 1,400MW will be commissioned in second phase by end year 2018. The park will decrease dependence on traditional power sources and move to environmentally friendly ones to meet growing power needs of state.

It will create employment and act as incentive for natives and farmers to explore new opportunities of socio-economic growth in the region. It will also curb mass migration of people from the region which has been declared drought-hit in 54 of the last 60 years.

World Bank: India emerging as front-runner in fight against Climate Change

The World Bank has observed that India is emerging as a frontrunner in the fight against climate change. It has noted that India is gradually replacing coal energy with solar power as a source of energy.

Salient Facts

The World Bank has observed that India has made a sweeping commitment to solar power, innovative solutions and energy efficiency initiatives to provide round the clock electricity to its people by 2030. With these initiatives and a firm decision to use more clean energy, India has emerged as the front-runner in the global fight against climate change.

The report of the World Bank had also praised India for walking away from plans to install nearly 14 GW of coal-fired power plants in order to use solar power to generate electricity as it is affordable for the country now to use solar power instead of fossil fuels. The expense involved in generating electricity from solar photovoltaic (PV) is at present a quarter of what it was in 2009 and is also predicted to fall another 66% by 2040. India gets 300 days of sunshine every year and has one of the best conditions in the world to capture and use solar energy.

India has set an ambitious target for generating 160 gigawatts (GW) of the wind and solar power by 2022. It would help India to help its population to light their homes, study at night, provide families with refrigerators to preserve food items. In addition, it would also act as an incentive for international firms to invest in India’s solar market.

Background

India has begun promoting the use of solar power on a large scale in place of fossil fuels in order to honour its climate change commitments. On the first day of the COP-21 summit, the International Solar Alliance was launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande as a union of countries with abundant sunlight. Under this alliance, 121 countries that fall within the tropics {i.e. between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn} have been invited to make collaborative efforts to harness solar energy to generate the electricity. Most of these countries fall within Asia, Africa and South America. There are three objectives behind the International Solar Alliance. First is to force down prices by driving demand; second is to bring standardisation in solar technologies and third is to foster research and development.