Solar ParksSolar power is a big asset in helping countries grow their economies and fight global poverty. With its vast population and economy, India has set forth an ambitious mission to build the world’s largest solar parks. Such parks stretch across massive areas and house numerous solar panels, harvesting clean energy and fostering economic growth in their countries. This choice is a huge step forward that could redefine the energy landscape and, if successful, serve as an inspiring model for the rest of the world, particularly in alleviating poverty.

Solar Park Projects

Energy poverty is a major obstacle to development in India and several other regions of the world. India houses nearly a fourth of all people worldwide who rely on solid fuels for cooking and nearly a fifth of those without electricity. However, the cleaner and more accessible method of converting solar energy to electricity can light a path out of poverty for the millions of people struggling with these problems.

India’s numerous solar park projects represent a massive step forward in increasing access to solar energy. One such notable project is the Pavagada Solar Park in Karnataka, covering over 13,000 acres of land and boasting a capacity of approximately 2,000 megawatts. Another is the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan, with a capacity of 2,245 megawatts, placing it among the world’s largest solar parks.


India’s solar initiatives, including but not limited to these expansive park projects, are a great source of enhanced electricity access for the poor. Especially in rural and remote areas, they can help power homes, schools and other essential facilities, illuminating a path out of poverty for those who need it most. This change can greatly improve the standard of living and economic opportunities.

Moreover, solar projects create a wealth of employment opportunities on several levels. Workers are needed to install and maintain solar panels and related technologies, and the generated energy helps run small businesses, which are another source of jobs. The solar energy job sector is growing incredibly fast, with millions of jobs provided each year. Job creation empowers poor individuals to make a living for themselves, aligning with India’s broader goal of poverty reduction.

Future Lessons

However, there are still lessons to learn from the failings of the solar projects implemented so far. India’s ambitious dreams have often clashed with local life, displacing communities in the process of acquiring land and impacting their livelihoods. At first, it seemed that the government was keeping the locals in mind, offering hefty compensations in exchange for the land.

However, Pavagada Solar Park has not delivered many of the promises it made years ago. Thousands remain unemployed, and hiring at the solar park involves discriminatory practices. In the future, it is imperative to approach land acquisition with sensitivity, ensuring fair compensation, proper rehabilitation and meaningful community engagement.

Looking Ahead

India’s solar endeavors present a fascinating opportunity to bolster technological innovation and build capacity for renewable energy. As with most projects of this scale, India must achieve a delicate balance between forward progress and upholding the rights of landowners. However, if they achieve such a balance, India’s solar energy projects can be a shining example. As solar infrastructure is developed, skill enhancement and knowledge transfer are inevitable, creating opportunities for the poor and facilitating economic growth.

Solar parks are a powerful tool in the fight against poverty and a strong commitment to protecting the environment. Solar energy is not just about clean power; it’s about empowerment, economic upliftment and providing opportunities for the poor. As India pioneers this journey towards sustainable energy, it sets a precedent for others to follow, leading to a world where poverty is steadily replaced by prosperity and progress.

– Namit Agrawal
Photo: Flickr

Floating Solar Projects in IndiaIndia is the world’s third-largest energy consumer, and after China and the U.S., it is the third-largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions. To move away from fossil fuels, India pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2070 at the 2021 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. India has established several floating solar projects alongside the nation’s largest energy conglomerate, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC). Floating solar, also known as floating photovoltaics (FPV), are solar panels attached to platforms that float on bodies of water. India’s floating solar projects use advanced technology to help the country transition to renewable energy.

Floating Solar Projects in India

  1. Saves Space on LandIn April 2023, India passed China to become the most populous country in the world, with 1.43 billion citizens. In 2020, the World Bank estimated that India’s population density was 1,217 people per square mile, 13 times the population density of the United States. Placing solar panels on bodies of water provides the nation with green energy while freeing up land for humanitarian efforts, such as sustainable housing.
  2. Creates Cutting-Edge TechnologyThe NTPC’s Ramagundam facility is the largest floating solar project in the country. It spans over 500 acres and divides into 40 blocks, with each block housing 11,200 solar panels. The panels float on platforms made from a lightweight and durable High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) material, with special High Modulus Polyethylene (HMPE) ropes securing the platforms to dead weights in the water. This project is also innovative in the way electrical equipment, such as inverters and transformers, float on platforms rather than operate on land. 
  3. Prevents Water EvaporationIndia’s floating solar panels cover large bodies of water. By sitting on the surface, the platforms protect the water below from receiving direct sunlight. These projects reduce the rate of water evaporation and therefore aid in water conservation efforts. The government estimates floating solar can save 3.25 million cubic meters of water annually. In turn, the water regulates the platform’s temperature and improves the solar panel’s efficiency. 
  4. Generates Energy for Public Service Institutions – According to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), 40% of India’s power will come from renewable energy sources by 2030. Solar energy is the second largest power resource after coal, making up 14% of all power in India. Communities with unreliable access to traditional grid power rely on solar power projects to provide sustainable energy. These projects benefit schools, hostels, police stations and other public service institutions in rural areas. 

Final Thoughts

While India is a leader in energy consumption, they are also a leader in renewable energy. Each year, they fund projects that support innovations in clean energy, such as FPVs. According to the IBEF, “Since 2016, India’s solar power installed capacity has been increasing rapidly, with the country almost doubling its capacity every year.” India’s floating solar panels are just one example of how the country plans to meet its goal of net zero emissions by 2070.

– Diana Grant
Photo: Flickr

In early February, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced a plan to apply the use of solar power to the 7,000 railway stations located across the country. The plan will be implemented as a part of the country’s federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Solar power in India is now the main focus of industry and infrastructure in the country.

India’s Desire for Solar Growth

During his speech regarding the budget, Jaitley informed the public that 300 stations across the country had begun to use solar energy. Indian Railways, the state-run organization that operates India’s trains, has been working for several years to set up a successful solar energy program. In 2016, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) partnered with Indian Railways to generate five gigawatts of solar power capacity into the system. To put this into perspective, global solar installations are expected to reach close to 70 gigawatts in 2017.

Now, with the joint commitment of the government, Indian Railways will be able to cohesively move forward in its mission to normalize solar power in India. By the end of 2017, India hopes to harbor at least nine gigawatts of solar energy. The plan to implement solar panels and production into rail stations is part of a larger goal to increase solar capacity to 100 gigawatts by 2022.

Plans for Funding Solar Energy Expansion

The Union Railway Master in Indian, Suresh Prabhu, has also publicly discussed the intentions of the proposal. The union government is funding research that looks into producing solar power in India from waste materials. In doing so, the cost of electricity and other expenditures will be reduced, leaving extra funding for expanding infrastructure and railway facilities.

In order to finance the technology it will take to harness solar energy for the railways, India has collected close to $8 billion in coal taxes. Approximately $1.8 billion of the funds will go into solar energy for Indian Railways. The money from this tax is focused on producing cleaner energy, forest conservation and sanitation efforts. Solar power in India is just one facet of the nation’s larger campaign to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. The nation has also produced the first airport in the world that runs solely on solar power. As Indian corporations and its government work together in the fight to create a greener world, solar power remains at the forefront of their mission.

Solar power holds endless untapped potential. The sun produces approximately 170,000 terawatts of energy per day. This is about 2,850 times the energy currently required by the Earth’s population.

Peyton Jacobsen

Photo: Flickr