Catching the sun at Bhadla solar park
Bhadla, an arid sprawl in Rajasthan spread over 45 sq km, is where over a million glistening silicon panels fuel India’s ambitious plan to generate 1,00,000 MW of solar energy by 2022. The Indian Express visits the plant that is on its way to becoming the country’s biggest solar park.
Bhadla is almost unlivable. Located in Rajasthan’s Jodhpur district, its normal temperatures oscillate between 46 and 48 degrees Celsius, while hot winds make even the relatively lower 40 degrees Celsius unbearable. Sand storms are an almost daily occurrence, and sometimes create massive dunes on the roads, temporarily cutting off certain areas. The nearest habitation is about 50 km away, in Bap, while any semblance of an urban settlement is 80 km in the other direction to Phalodi, a tehsil town.
All of which makes Bhadla an almost perfect setting for a solar power plant. As such, this sandy, dry and arid piece of land, about 200 km north of Jodhpur and about 320 km west of Jaipur, now houses a project that will, in less than two years, become India’s largest solar park. When all the four phases of the project are completed and become operational by December next year as is expected, Bhadla will be capable of producing 2,255 MW of electricity.