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India’s largest solar plant up and running

New solar plant launched in Jaisalmer as part of India’s drive to dramatically increase its share of renewables in the energy mix

The Thar desert lies mostly in Rajasthan and has huge potential for solar energy

India’s biggest solar power plant, capable of generating 40MW, has started operating in a Rajasthan, the Times of India reported.

The plant, based in the sunshine-trapped Indian district of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, is owned by Reliance Energy and was built at an estimated cost of Rs 400 crore on 140 ha of land.

At the opening of the plant, new and renewable energy minster, Farooq Abdullah said India would soon become a global leader in solar energy and the government is making all efforts towards achieving this goal.

Building India’s solar energy capacity could strengthen the Indian economy, said Abdullah. Rajasthan “is ideal” for solar energy and “would provide electricity to the entire country by setting up a large number of solar plants," he added.

India has set a target to produce 20,000MW of solar energy by 2022, confirmed Abdullah. He said he hoped Rajasthan alone would cross this target.

India ranks fifth in wind energy production in the world and the way work is progressing "we could further move ahead", said Abdullah.

Currently, 90 per cent of India’s power generation fund is spent on coal, petrol, diesel and other natural gas, according to the minister. But if solar and wind energy is used then every village this percentage could drastically change, he said.

Chief minister, Ashok Gehlot said there is huge scope the expand the sector. For example, efforts are being made to set up a new solar energy park in western Rajasthan and to develop the state as a solar hub, he said.

Some Rs 10,000 crore has been invested in developing solar energy in rajasthan; a further Rs 6,000 crore could be invested further.

Reliance CMD, Anil Ambani said it the new solar plant was a “historic moment for Rajasthan”. "That we will be getting 40MW power every single day is a record in itself," he said.