World’s biggest rooftop solar plant inaugurated in Punjab

Spread across 82 acres, the solar plant will be able to generate around 150 lakh units annually, offsetting nearly 19,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum

PUNJAB: The world’s biggest rooftop solar plant, located at the Radha Soami sect headquarters in the Beas riverfront town of Punjab around 45 km from Amritsar, was officially inaugurated on Tuesday by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The 11.5 MW rooftop solar energy plant is spread across an area of more than 82 acres and was built at a cost of Rs 139 crore by the Radha Soami Satsang Beas (RSSB). Encouraging the usage of green technology, the solar plant will be able to generate around 150 lakh units annually, which would offset nearly 19,000 tonnes of carbon emissions per annum.

The Punjab government had recently claimed that the state had set a national benchmark in solar power generation with a 172 times increase in just three years. Investment in the solar power sector increased from a small Rs.70 crore to over Rs.12,000 crore in 2015.

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With a goal to make Chandigarh a model solar city, the administration has planned to issue notifications making rooftop solar photovoltaic power plants compulsory for all buildings including commercial, government, semi-government and residential except residential areas with an area of less than 100 sq yards. Solar power plants have already been established on government buildings in the area, to encourage the general public.

Canal Top Solar Power Plant, Wikimedia Commons
Canal Top Solar Power Plant, Wikimedia Commons

From farmers having land holding of just four acres to MNCs, Punjab is seeing a solar revolution of sorts. Investors include NRIs, big corporates and foreign investors.
To promote solar plants, the Punjab government has already announced incentives for this sector to attract more investment.

According to the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the potential for solar energy is highest in the country as compared to other renewable energy resources. India receives nearly 250 to 300 days of clear sunny weather across most parts of the country with an annual radiation supply of between 1600 to 2200 kWh/m2 which is equivalent energy potential to about 6,000 million GWh of energy per year.

Solar Resources in India, Wikimedia Commons
Solar Resources in India, Wikimedia Commons

Over the past one year itself, the installed solar power has increased by approximately 55% from 3743.97 MW to 6762.853 MW with Tamil Nadu having the most increase in installed solar power from 142.580 MW to 1061.820 MW.

The National Action Plan on Climate Change has pointed out that “India is a tropical country, where sunshine is available for longer hours per day and in great intensity. Solar energy, therefore, has great potential as future energy source. It also has the advantage of permitting the decentralized distribution of energy, thereby empowering people at the grassroots level”.

Successfully harnessing the heat producing capacities across the country, India can not only meet the energy requirements but also reduce dependence on fossil fuel produced energy.

(Inputs from IANS)