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States fight it out to get some sun

Rajasthan does a Gujarat, lays foundation for 3,000-MW solar power project. Chetan Chauhan reports. States’ installed solar capacity

delhi Updated: Aug 25, 2013 02:42 IST
Chetan Chauhan
Chetan Chauhan
Hindustan Times

India's solar power sector is witnessing a fierce battle among states to set new records.

Rajasthan on Wednesday laid the foundation for the world's biggest solar farm with a generation capacity of 3,000 MW, tipping its neighbour Gujarat which had in 2012 announced a solar farm with a capacity of around 2,000 MW.

The Rajasthan solar farm in an area of 10,000 MW will have a dedicated zone for solar research and development and solar installations for pumping of water from Indira Gandhi Canal along with providing power to the grid. Gujarat solar park is also earmarked on similar lines but with lesser capacity.

Powered by solar energy seems to have caught the fetish of other states as well. Madhya Pradesh is now about to launch a 151 MW solar plant, just a MW more than a unit in Maharashtra.

"Madhya Pradesh increased the capacity of the plant just to beat Maharashtra," said a senior official of ministry of new and renewable energy.

Before Madhya Pradesh decided to enter the fray, Maharashtra had beaten arch rival Gujarat, which had announced a 130 MW solar plant to be funded by Bill Gates Foundation.

Gujarat was also the first state to earn twin benefits from a solar system - generating power and saving water loss from canals. It built a 1 MW power plant on Narmada Canal about 40 kms from Ahmedabad, which also meant saving about 20% of water loss due to evaporation.

Not to be left behind, West Bengal is setting up a floating solar power station at Victoria Lake being developed by Calcutta Institute of Technology.

The prototype involves solar panels and other components that are fitted onto a platform with hollow plastic or tin drums that enable it to float on water. Its benefit - efficiency of solar panels will increase by 16% as water will keep its rear side cool.

First Published: Aug 25, 2013 00:00 IST