India to Become World's Third Largest Solar Market via New Solar Power Plant
With the goal of India to replace coal with cheaper solar power by 2020, the South Asian country has recently unveiled the world's largest solar power plant.
According to a report from Treehugger, the 648-megawatt solar energy facility beats the previous title holder, Topaz Solar Farm located in California. This massive solar power facility in India is located in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu and is sprawled over 10 square kilometers of land. Backed by the Adani Group, the new solar power plant can produce electricity for 150,000 homes via its 2.5 million solar modules which are cleaned every day by a robotic system.
India's decision to replace coal with solar power came after a 2016 BP Energy Outlook report revealed alarming number in the country's energy consumption if it continue to depend on fossil fuel. The report says that by 2035, India's oil import will be up by 169 percent, coal import by 85 percent and gas import by 573 percent.
To prevent the ballooning of India's dependency on fossil fuels, the Indian government has updated its National Solar Mission Target. India aims to achieve 20 GW of solar power capacity by 2022 that can produce energy for an estimate of 60 million homes.
The opening of the new plant, combined with a planned 4 GW solar power plant to be built in seven years, makes India almost half way in its target 20 GW goal. The new focus on solar energy also gives a solution to the poverty in India, giving more opportunities for employment.
Ajay Goel, president of solar and chief of new businesses at ReNew Power said, that India's shift to solar power could "generate more than 675,000 jobs in the Indian solar industry." It will also make the country the world's third largest solar market next year, next to U.S. and China.