Archive for April 27th, 2012

Is the sun the answer to India’s energy problems?

Solar power in India  – Waiting for the sun

Is the sun the answer to India’s energy problems?

Apr 28th 2012 | CHARANKA, GUJARAT – The Economist Magazine

ON A salt plain near the border with Pakistan lies half a billion dollars’ worth of solar-energy kit paid for by firms from all over the world. A million panels stretch as far as the eye can see. Past a dishevelled brass band is a tent crammed with 5,000 people who cheer when Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat, declares the solar park open: “I pray, sun god, that today Gujarat will show the way to the rest of the world for solar energy.”

Despite the uncomfortable cult of personality around Mr Modi, Gujarat is an easy place to do business. And solar power would appear to be an obvious winner for India. The country has plenty of sun and flat, idle land. India is energy-hungry, but electricity supply is sporadic. Costly diesel generators are popular. Solar power could replace them. And solar parks, which look like giant Lego kits, are easier to build than conventional power plants. The new park, in a place called Charanka, has just over 200 megawatts (MW) of capacity running, making it the biggest site in India. It took 16 months to build. No one builds nuclear power stations nearly that fast.  [more]