The Thar Desert, the world’s ninth-largest hot sub-tropical desert, which was once a curse and unfit for human habitation, is now thriving with not only solar energy but also with other variants of renewable energy.
It is emerging as the most promising solar hotspot in India. Interestingly, Rajasthan receives solar radiation of 6.0–7.0 kWh/m2. As the area has low rainfall, about 325 days have good sunshine in a year.
The sun produces an unbelievable amount of energy that reaches the earth. The amount of energy that is absorbed by the earth in one hour is more energy than mankind uses in one year. With its abundance of sunlight, Rajasthan has tremendous potential to emerge as one of the leaders in solar power generation.
According to the government of India’s policy for the solar sector – Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), a target of 20 gigawatts (GW) of solar installations by 2022 has been kept. Rajasthan alone will contribute to achieving half the target.
Rajasthan is the only state in India that has established a strong power evacuation network in the desert area.
Renewable energy in Rajasthan
The state has already installed an aggregate of 9.6 GW of renewable energy capacity as of financial year 2019-20-end, which includes 5.2 GW of solar energy. Also, during FY2019-20, it added more solar power capacity (1.7 GW) than any other Indian state—ahead of Karnataka (1.4 GW), the state with the highest installed solar capacity, and Tamil Nadu (1.3 GW).
It will add another 22.6 GW to the grid by the end of the financial year 2029-30. Of the new renewable energy addition, 18 GW will come from solar capacity, according to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis(IEEFA).
Currently, 10,000 MW solar and wind power projects have been installed and 27,000 MW capacity plants are being installed. “Rajasthan has a bright future as a renewable energy leader in India,” said the report’s author Kashish Shah, a research analyst at IEEFA.
High solar radiation and wind speed, and an abundance of barren land make Rajasthan suitable for utility-scale solar parks. And it is already home to the world’s largest solar park – the 2.25 GW Bhadla Solar Park, located in the Jodhpur district.
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