According to reports, the initiatives taken by the Gujarat government in the field of solar power generation are expected to help the state reduce carbon emissions by a staggering 8 lakh tonnes every year.
Officials say this is a small but a definite step in the battle against global warming and climate change.
According to officials, a coal-based thermal power plant of 600 MW capacity consumes around 7.5 lakh tonnes of coal in a year.
“We will need to burn less coal because of this solar power generation capacity. This would result in significant reduction of 8 lakh tonnes of carbon emissions in a year,” DJ Pandian, principal secretary, energy & petrochemicals department, says.
Also, at current costs, the state would save around Rs250 crore a year in terms of coal costs and freight charges because of the solar power capacity. Over the next 25 years, this would result into savings of a whopping Rs6,500 crore.
Officials concede that the government would pay significantly more for solar power when compared with power generated using coal or gas, but say that this is a small price to pay in the battle against climate change.
The 600 MW solar power generation capacity, including 214 MW at the Charanka Solar Park, has come up at an estimated investment of Rs9,000 crore. This capacity would enable generation of an estimated 1,000 million units of clean electricity every year at no additional cost.
Officials say that the state government also plans to replicate the 1 MW Chandrasan canal-top solar project, at other places.
“The Narmada canal network runs into thousands of kilometres. There is great potential for setting up solar panels on the canal to generate clean and green power. Installation of panels on the canal would eliminate the need to acquire huge tracts of land. It would also prevent evaporation of crores of litres of canal water,” Pandian says.