2014-02-05

Co.Exist

India Is Building A Solar Farm Bigger Than Manhattan

Once completed, it will be the largest in the world.

With a history of blackouts and a growing population, India badly needs new sources of power. At the moment, its grid regularly fails to meet demand and 300 million Indians--about 25% of the total population--aren't even connected to it.

India is investing heavily in all types of power generation, but particularly renewables, which now account for 12% of the country's overall capacity. The country's renewable capacity grew to 27.3 gigawatts last year, a 10-fold increase in a decade, with about two thirds coming from wind power.

However, India's most ambitious project isn't built just yet. It is a massive new solar plant--the world's biggest. Measuring about 30 square miles, the Rajasthan-based farm will be 10 times bigger than any previous solar project, according to Nature. Manhattan wouldn't be large enough to contain it.

The plant, sitting near the Sambhar Salt Lake, will have a capacity of 4,000 megawatts, the equivalent of several power stations, and will go some way towards meeting India's renewable energy targets. India has big plans for solar. By 2022, it wants more than 20 gigawatts. By 2050, it hopes it have as much as 200 gigawatts, or more generating capacity than coal, gas, and nuclear combined.

That may seem like a pipe-dream today. But with prices for solar already matching conventional power rates, it may not be for long.

[Image: Goa, India via Shutterstock]

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