The Indian government has revealed a new world first - the biggest solar energy plant to date, with 648 MW of clean energy capacity in the southern region of the country. The new development knocks the previous leader off its perch - California's Topaz Solar Farm, with a total capacity of 550 MW.
India has been investing heavily in solar energy developments in recent years, driven by its goal to install 20 GW of new renewable energy capacity by 2022. This will help the country to achieve greater energy security of supply, support climate change objectives, reduce pollution, create economic growth and bring reliable energy to rural areas, where energy inaccessibility persists.
Through the drive to become a green energy leader, India has already launched a number of sizeable solar developments, including a new 4 GW project that is to be built in the coming years.
The planned new developments are getting bigger but take a number of years to work through the approvals, funding and construction process. For now there is a sizeable gap between the plants that are currently operating and those that are in development.
However, the new plant is very impressive. Located in Kamuthi, the project is being financed by the Adani Group and will take up a site of 10 square kilometres. It will have a whopping 2.5 million solar modules and produce sufficient green energy to power 150,000 homes.
The new development means that the country now has more than 10GW of solar capacity already installed, taking them midway to their 2022 goal, which is to see 60 million Indian homes powered by clean solar energy. Market analysts expect India to be the third largest market for solar energy from 2017 onwards, behind only China and the USA.