Known as the “roof of the world,” the scenic Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir could soon host the world’s largest single-location PV plant.
According to U.S.-based insurance provider SolarInsure, as of June 2017, China’s Datong Solar Power Project – with a projected capacity of 3 GW – has the potential to become the world’s biggest single-location solar PV project, once completed.
The Ladakh project is expected to be complete by 2023, with abundant sunlight and clear air making Ladakh unusually suitable for solar technologies.
The power generated from the 5 GW PV plant in Leh district will be transmitted, along a 900 km stretch of the Leh-Manali road, for consumption by Kaithal district in the state of Haryana. It will be supplemented by another 2.5 GW solar project in the Kargil district, to provide electricity to light up the plains and reduce dependence on diesel generators for a population that remains cut off for around half the year.
Besides enabling developers to set up the power transmission and evacuation infrastructure, the 7.5 GW Jammu & Kashmir tender encourages them to add storage. Developers are encouraged to explore different forms of storage technology, including battery, molten salts, pumped storage or a combination thereof, for innovative and efficient utilization of the transmission evacuation infrastructure.
A report in the Times of India quoted SK Mishra, director of power systems for the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), as saying: “We have addressed issues faced in previous tenders and taken into account the challenging geography.
“Another positive is the Leh and Kargil administrations have designated 25,000 and 12,500 acres of non-grazing land, respectively, at prices remunerative for the hill councils, which will also earn rental of around Rs1,200 per hectare, per annum, with 3% annual escalation,” he added.