Some of the Unique Solar Projects in India

More and more number of people are adapting Solar technologies for generation of electricity as well as process heat. In addition to large solar PV power plants set up to supply power to the grid, large business houses are setting up MW level power plants for captive use.

A large textile house in Tamil Nadu has set up 2 MW Solar power plant. A privately run university in Tamil Nadu has installed 1.25 MW roof-top Solar power plant to meet around 25% of their energy requirements, while another engineering College has installed 800 KW.

We have listed some of the large Solar PV and Thermal projects successfully implemented so far. We shall keep adding to make this an exhaustive list.

World Pioneering Use of Solar Energy by Brahma Kumaris

  • Solar hot water facilities that provide nearly 60,000L per day for bathing on the Madhuban and Gyan Sarovar campuses.

  • Solar steam cooking system capable of producing 35,000 meals per day on the Shantivan campus in 1998. This system, which has been running successfully for the past seven years, consists of 84 parabolic concentrators and daily generates 3500 Kg of steam.

  • Solar steam cooking system with a dish size of 12.6 square metres at the Global Hospital and Research Centre in Mt. Abu to provide steam for the canteen, sterilizers and laundry.

  • 50 kW solar photovoltaic power plant with Sunpower inverter on each of the three campuses in 2000, providing unlimited power for computer, sound and emergency lighting systems.

  • Solar street lighting, Solar lanterns and Solar cooking boxes to 1,000 year old village of Salgaon and other neighbouring villages, which border the Gyan Sarovar campus.

  • Provided expertise to set up steam cooking system for 600 people in Yellapur (Hubli) and a system capable of providing meals for 2000 people at the Om Shanti Retreat Centre near New Delhi.

  • Equipping 60 centres in India with a 5kW solar PV system and providing 300 centres with a 1 kW system.

  • Providing information and selling thousands of solar lanterns, as well as hundreds of home lighting systems and solar cooking boxes, through its Solar Shop on the Shantivan campus.
India One Solar Thermal Power Project at Aburoad, Rajasthan (2014)

First of its kind Canal-Top Solar Power Plant at Sanand, Gujarat (2012)

  • 1 MW power plant made on 750-metre stretch of Sanand branch canal of the Sardar Sarovar Project.

  • Developed by the Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited and inaugurated in April 2012.

  • Power plant located at Chandrasan village near Mehsana, 45 kms from Ahmedabad.

  • Set up at a cost of Rs 17.50 crores by US based SunEdison.

  • Will generate 1.6 million units of electricity per year.

  • Will prevent around 9 million liters of water from evaporating.

  • Expect 15% extra power as compared to land installations, due to cooler temperature.

India’s First Solar Park at Charanka Village, Patan District, Gujarat (2012)

  • Foundation laid on 30 Dec, 2010 and Commissioned on 19 Apr, 2012.

  • Developers - 21 and Developer Investment - Rs 3600 Crores.

  • Area - 5000 acres and Employment Generation - 1500 labourers.

  • Current Generation - 214 MW and Solar & Wind Total Generation Capacity - 500 MW.

  • It is larger than Golmund Solar Park in China (200 MW).

  • 17 plants generating 214 MW of grid connected solar power at Charanka.

  • Also manufactures solar panels & related equipment and provides training to local people to work at solar parks.

MAHAGENCO’s Solar PV Plant in Chandrapur District, Maharashtra (2012)

Project details:

  • Capacity: 1 MW.

  • Commissioning: Feb 2012.

  • Location: Ambora Village, Urja Nagar Post, Chandrapur Taluka, Maharashtra.

  • Total Capacity: 4 MW (2 MW based on Multi Crystalline Technology & 2 MW based on Thin Film Technology).

  • The generated DC power from solar panels is being converted into AC power using inverters.

  • The output electricity from the inverters is being stepped up to 33 kV using transformers.

  • The electrical power at 33 kV level is evacuated through appropriate transmission arrangements to a 33 kV feeder from Chandrapur MIDC substation and connected to the 33 kV grid.

MAHAGENCO-chandrapur

Auroville Solar Kitchen, Pondicherry (2004)

  • Collective kitchen for the Auroville community, finalized in December 1997.

  • Location: Auroville (City of Dawn), an "experimental" township in the Viluppuram district in Tamil Nadu.

  • Speciality: Perfect fixed spherical bowl cast with 96 prefabricated ferrocement elements, Moving Receiver.

  • A tilted fixed mast supports a moving receiver that can rotate in all directions around a double-axis articulation placed at the centre of the sphere and balanced by a counterweight.

  • A computer program controls tracking of the whole system with scope for seasonal changes.

  • Conventional diesel fired boiler as back-up system for cooking on an off-on basis.

  • Interface through a heat storage tank using thermic fluid storage (1.4 m3) with 1-hour heat storage capacity.

  • Over 1000 lunches are prepared daily, throughout the year.
This time lapse video shows functioning of this 15 meter diameter fixed spherical reflector with tracking receiver. Water pumped through the receiver turns to steam which is used for cooking in Auroville's Solar Kitchen.

World’s Largest Solar Steam Cooking at Shirdi, Maharashtra (2009)

  • Installed on 30 July 2009 at Shirdi at an estimated cost of INR 1.33 crores (approx. US$ 300,000).

  • In 2001, the temple installed 40 dishes of 10 m2 size each to provide energy for cooking 6,000 meals for 3,000 people daily.

  • In 2009 they installed 73 solar dishes each with an aperture area of 16 m2, to generate steam required in cooking food for upto 20,000 pilgrims twice a day.

  • It generates sufficient amount of steam to cook food, even without electricity to run the feed water pump for circulating water in the system.

  • When it becomes too cloudy, the system uses a conventional boiler running on Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).

  • The installation saves around 1,00,000 kg of LPG per year that costs INR 20 lakhs (approx. US$ 45,000).

A solar cooking system designed and installed in India and based on Scheffler concentrators developed in Germany. Photo: Gadhia Solar

Solar Steam Cooking at Tirupati, Andhra Pradhesh (2001)

Project details:

  • Solar steam cooking system was installed atop the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams’ canteen in 2001 to facilitate operation of steam cookers.

  • Nearly 50,000 kilos of rice along with lentils, curry and vegetables are cooked here every day.

  • Generates over 4,000 kgs of steam a day at 180º C, making cooking faster and cheaper.

  • An average of 500 litres of diesel fuel is saved each day.

  • This results in an annual saving of Rs. 6,00,000 – Rs. 8,00,000.

  • This has resulted in a reduction of more than 1,350 kgs of green house gases in the atmosphere.
Photo: K.V. Poornachandra Kumar