India Marks 1GW Solar Milestone with Power Outage


India, one of the world’s largest emerging countries has been growing at an average rate of 7.37% (from 2000-2012). This astonishing growth requires even faster electricity growth. Nevertheless, India continues to be an electricity-starved country. This week, when India reached the 1GW solar power milestone, half of the country has been suffering from power outage. The country’s worst blackout in a decade. It affected seven states in northern India that are home to more than 350 million people. Besides the millions left without power at their homes, at least 300 trains have been held up in the affected regions stranding roughly 500,000 railway passengers across India. The reason for the latest blackouts is not yet known but that some states, particularly those with a lot of agricultural activity, may have been using more than their share of energy.

Most of the solar power is concentrated in Gujarat, home of Charanka Solar Park. It is the world’s largest solar power station and a cluster of 17 thin-film solar PV systems. However, overall as a nation, power outages in India are common as demand for electricity regularly exceeds supply by 10% during summer. Coal, ignite and hydro-electric are the main source of power generation in India. Homes and farms consume more power than industries and businesses.

India has lower per capita of electricity consumption than countries such as China, which is 389 watt per person, and the world average is 306 watt per person (2005-2012). The government has been making efforts to increase solar power installation. In effort, to protect the domestic solar industry, the government has begun anti-dumping investigations against China-based solar firms. For a country considered a rising economic power, Blackout Tuesday — which came only a day after another major power failure — was an embarrassing reminder of the intractable problems still plaguing India: inadequate infrastructure, a crippling power shortage and a question to political leadership role.

via Digitimes