The 2050 MW solar park located at Pavagada in Tumakuru district of Karnataka has now become completely operational. Recognised as the world’s largest solar park, ‘Shakti Sthala’ has been developed by the Karnataka Solar Park Development Corporation Limited (KSPDCL), a joint venture between the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and the Karnataka Renewable Energy (KREDL).
The Pavagada solar park spans across 13,000 acres spread over 5 villages. The project that was conceptualized in 2015, and started developing in 2016, has been executed in a short span of two years. The project, officially launched in 2018, became completely operational in December 2019, after the final 200 MW capacity developed by SB Energy (SoftBank) was commissioned.
Another unique feature of the project is that it has been successfully accomplished without any land acquisition. Pavagada solar park has been established on leased land of farmers which has helped in reducing the cost of its execution. The KSPDCL is paying over 2,300 farmers ₹21,000/acre/year with a five per cent escalation every two years for land that is being utilized for solar park development. Since Pavagada is a drought-hit area, this arrangement has worked for both parties.
The park is not only playing a major role in helping India achieve its renewable energy targets but also in creating employment for natives and farmers to explore new opportunities for socio-economic growth in the region.
Solar is one of the least waste generating methods of creating energy. It is therefore considered to be very beneficial. India is blessed with a lot of sunlight all throughout the year. Taking advantage of this is the state of Karnataka, which is recognised as the top solar state in India, according to Mercom India’s Solar Project Tracker. There are approximately 7.1 GW of large-scale solar projects in operation and approximately 1 GW of projects under the development pipeline in the state. Karnataka boasts of a renewables share of 62 per cent in its power mix, followed by thermal power and nuclear with 35 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively. The share of solar in the total installed power capacity is 22 per cent.