(Reuters) -India has overtaken California and now has the largest solar farm in one location in the world. It was built in a record eight months, despite monsoons and floods. The vast 2,500 acre site in Tamil Nadu is the size of nearly 60 Taj Mahals, while the area of the solar panels alone could hold 476 football pitches. And, during the construction, just the storage area was the equivalent of 6 Sydney Opera Houses.
The southern Indian solar farm can generate 648 megawatts of clean, green electricity. By 2022, India aims to power 60 million homes by the sun. This will help propel India as a world leader in renewable energy generation.
Vneet Jaain, CEO of Adani Power, says, “Before us, the largest solar power plant at a single location was in California in the U.S. That was 550 MW and was completed in around three years. We wanted to set up a solar plant of 648 MW in a single location in less than a year.”
The enormous solar farm took just eight months to build by 8,500 people in Kamuthi, Ramanathpuram, in the southern state of Tamil Nadu – a staggeringly short amount of time, given the sheer scale of the project and the massive floods and monsoon in the region at the time of construction.
The plant comprises of 380,000 foundations, 2,500,000 solar modules, 27,000 metric tonnes of structure, 576 inverters, 154 transformers and 6,000 km of cables (that’s almost the equivalent distance of India to Australia). The overall cost of the mega-structure was approximately U.S. $679 million.
Chairman of the Adani Group – the company who owns the solar farm – Guatam Adani says, “We have a deep commitment to nation-building. We plan to produce 11,000 MW of solar energy in the next five years, putting India on the global map of renewable energy.”
The huge number of solar panels is cleaned daily by a robotic system, itself charged by its own solar panel.
The solar farm is part of the Indian government’s ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions by 33-35% and to produce 40% of its power by non-fossil fuels by 2030.