The world’s largest solar park, Shakti Sthala, was launched on Pavagada in Karnataka’s Tumakuru district by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Thursday.The 2000 MW park spans across 13,000 acres spread over five villages.the park is set up at an investment of Rs.16,500 Crore.
The park’s development is anchored by the Karnataka Solar Power Development Corp. Ltd (KSPDCL), an entity formed in March 2015 as a joint venture between Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Ltd (KREDL) and Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI).It is part of the ‘Karnataka Solar Policy 2014-2021’ which aims to decrease dependence on traditional power sources and move to environmentally friendly ones to meet the growing power needs of the state.The solar park is also part of the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government’s “Nava Karnataka Nirmana” (building a new Karnataka) campaign, used extensively by the party in the run-up to the 2018 assembly elections to highlight its economic development and job creation efforts as well as to attract big ticket, high investment projects to the state.
The park ties in with the centre’s scheme to generate 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power by 2020.
The land for the solar park has been taken on a 25-year lease by the government from around 2,300 farmers, and in return, they are paid an annual rental of Rs21,000 per acre, with scope for a 5% increase every two years.
Siddaramaiah said ,”Development and economic growth of a nation occurs when its people become partners in the development process “.He also stated that the state was the third-largest renewable energy producer in the country and has set a target of sourcing at least 20% from renewable sources in the future.
Karnataka, which continues to face power shortage, increased its capacity from 14,030MW in 2012-13 to 23,379MW in January this year, through all sources including hydel, thermal, nuclear and biomass.