$4.4bn power plant to accelerate India’s solar ambitions

India is endeavouring to address its power issues by investing considerably in solar power.

The next stage of expansion will see India build the world's largest solar plant to generate 4000 MW on the shores of a saltwater lake in the north western desert state of Rajasthan, which should drive solar power costs even lower.

India flag
Time of India says the project will cost in the region of $4.4bn.

In the last four years, the country has increased solar capacity from 17.8 MW to 2000 MW according to official figures, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's aiming to make "the sun occupy centre-stage" in the country's energy mix.

Falling costs have aided that objective and coordinated by the 2010 creation of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission, the task is to generate 20000 MW of grid-connected solar power and 2000 MW of off-grid generation, such as roof panels, by 2022.

That would still represent just one-eighth of India's total installed power base, but the government believes the share will rise as prices for solar infrastructure keep falling.

India boasts more than 300 sunny days a year in some parts along with large tracts of desert while a big chunk of the nation lies near the equator.

With 40 per cent of rural Indian households without power there is a huge market. India also urgently needs to generate home-grown power with imports of oil, gas and coal contributing to a trade deficit that has alarmed international investors.

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