Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India]: The first phase of the world’s largest and first ever solar park, Shakti Sthala, was launched by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on March 1, 2018 in Pavagada, Karnataka.
The solar park is spread over a total area of 13,000 acres (53 square kilometers) and has been set up with an investment of Rs.16,500 crores.
The Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) established a joint venture company, the Karnataka Solar Power Development Corporation Ltd (KSPDCL), in March 2015 to implement solar power projects in Karnataka.
The Pavagada Solar Park is financed and co-developed by the Union Ministry of New Renewable Energy (MNRE), the state government and developers who pay upfront charges.
This mega project of 2000 MW capacity has been set up using the barren lands of farmers which has been obtained on lease from the farmers. Not a single inch of land has been acquired.
Pavagada was chosen as the site for the project for several reasons. Apart from high solar radiation and availability of land, the region receives very little rainfall. The region is also scarcely populated and most of its residents are poor farmers.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said, “Karnataka has emerged as the third largest producer of renewable energy in the nation and was taking ‘bold strides’ towards emerging as an energy surplus state.”
In March 2017, D.K. Shivakumar, Karnataka’s Minister of Energy, told the Bangalore Mirror that the government was looking to generate wind energy by setting up windmills in Pavagada.
Preliminary estimates from the KREDL indicate a potential wind power generation of 250-300 MW.