The first phase Shakti Sthala solar park having total capacity of 2,000 megawatts (MW) was inaugurated in drought-prone Pavagada region of Tumkur district, Karanataka. It is claimed to be world’s largest solar park.
The park ties in with the Central Government’s scheme to generate 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power by 2020. It has been executed within record time of two years, with zero land acquisition
The park’s development was initiated with creation of Karnataka Solar Power Development Corp. Ltd (KSPDCL) in March 2015 as joint venture between Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).
KSPDCL had used “plug and play” model for development of park, under which it acquires and develops land as blocks for solar power generation, embedded with required government approvals and gives it out to solar power developers (SPDs) through auctions.
The solar park is spread over 13,000 acres and five villages. The land was taken on 25-year lease by government from around 2,300 farmers. In return, these farmers are paid annual rental of Rs.21,000 per acre, with scope for 5% increase every two years.
The first phase of the Rs. 16,500 crore park will generate 600MW power, while the balance 1,400MW will be commissioned in second phase by end year 2018. The park will decrease dependence on traditional power sources and move to environmentally friendly ones to meet growing power needs of state.
It will create employment and act as incentive for natives and farmers to explore new opportunities of socio-economic growth in the region. It will also curb mass migration of people from the region which has been declared drought-hit in 54 of the last 60 years.