Literally known as “The Land of Kings”, and is crowned as India’s most-Solar developed state. It also has the world’s largest solar power plant with a total capacity of 2245MWs. In the year 2019, the whole population of Rajasthan was connected to electric power. Rajasthan not only generates electricity using large solar plants but also has wind, biomass, and rooftops solar power generation. In total Rajasthan produces a mammoth 9811.85 MW of power only through renewable energy.
Let us find out how Rajasthan is becoming an ideal place to generate renewable energy.
Rajasthan’s Geography is Ideal for Renewable
Rajasthan is the largest state of India by area and is located in the north-west region of India. It is mainly famous due to its magnificent architecture constructed by the Rajputs and the infamous Thar desert. It is also because of this desert that Rajasthan is leading its way in solar energy.
As you might know, deserts receive plenty of sunlight throughout the year due to their clear skies. More than 60% of the Thar desert is located in Rajasthan and the government of India is utilizing its full potential.
Just like a typical desert, the northwestern part of Rajasthan which is occupied by the Thar only receives an average of 300 mm of annual rainfall. This happens due to the rain shadow effect caused by the Aravalli ranges which block the monsoon winds from entering. Temperatures during the hot summers could reach a scorching 56 °C, which makes it an inhospitable place to live but makes it ideal for solar power generation.
The Issues Faced
Though Rajasthan is the largest state by area of India, the sun-drenched Thar desert covers almost more than half of the state. Due to this, it has a weak agricultural sector. But the state has been working on improving the utility sector ever since. As it has an abundance of barren wastelands, procurement of land for the construction of large scale utility projects is no big deal.
Rajasthan in 2015 had 71% of its population connected to electricity and only in 2019 have successfully connected the whole population to electricity.
Rajasthan’s Diversity in Renewable Energy
This stats is not only known for solar power plants but also has a lot to offer and you might be surprised to know that it has to offer. Have a look
In Rajasthan, ground-mounted Solar energy is the largest source of renewable energy. The total electricity produced at its peak is 4996.96 MW. The government is trying its best to fully utilize the full potential of the desert. Solar roof-top systems with net metering are also gaining pace and the government is giving a push to aid this sector. Rajasthan has two large solar power plant under its belt, these are:
- Bhadla Solar Park: In 2020 it was recognised as the largest solar power park in a sign region in the world. It generates a total of 2245 MW alone during its peak hour.
- Dhirubhai Ambani Solar Park: Was commissioned in 2012, it is one of the largest Concentrated Solar Plant (CSP) in the world. Though it only produces 125 MW of power, it uses Fresnel type, which makes it a unique solar power plant.
The government of Rajasthan is pushing hard to increase the use of roof-top solar panels for domestic use through a subsidy scheme. The scheme provides a 40% subsidy for roof-top installations of up to 3kW.
Rajasthan is also home to India’s largest Wind power plant and the fourth-largest in the world, Jaisalmer Wind Park. Rajasthan in total generates 4337.64 MW and is inching towards utilizing its full wind potential of 5400 MW. The majority of the Wind parks are situated in western parts of Rajasthan where there is more open land due to the Thar desert.
In 2012, Jaisalmer wind park became one of the world’s largest and the largest of its kind in India.
Read more: Rajasthan Rainwater Management
In 2015, the total generation of electricity was 1300MW, with 24 wind turbines installed each with a generating capacity of 2.1MW.
Due to Rajasthan’s geographical features, its arid vast barren lands have proven to be an elixir of power. The combination of solar and wind renewable energy has helped to electrify the whole population of the state. This has lead to less dependency on thermal power plants, which is good news.
To boost the use of renewable energy usage amongst locals, researchers of Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI) have developed a solar energy-based electricity generation system, also knows as an Agri-Voltaic system. Basically, it utilizes the electricity generated by the solar panel placed in the field to be used for agriculture purposes of that one piece of land. Also, the solar panel is placed in parallel to the crops for optimum land use and is used for harvesting. In an estimate, 1.5 lakh (150,000) liters of rainwater can be collected from a 105 kW array.
Yes, you heard that right.
There are 13 biomass plants in Rajasthan which add up to 120.45MWof power generation established last in March 2019.
A biomass plant is a carbon-neutral way of generating electricity. The main source of fuel is agricultural wastes, which in this case it is Mustard husk and Julie Flora. The biomass is burned to generate heat and is used to convert liquid water into steam which in turn rotates the turbines.
The Bottom Line:
Rajasthan has a good diversity of renewable energies at their belt and they have just picked up the pace. The desert and semi-arid climate, which was for so many years considered to be hostile and unproductive have proven to be a boon due to modern tech.
Rajasthan still has many renewable energy projects in the pipeline to fully utilize its potential.