World's Largest Solar Rooftop System Goes Online, Will Power 8,000 Homes

The Indian state of Punjab is now home to the world's largest rooftop solar plant. The massive array will produce 11.5 megawatts of energy and is expected to provide clean power to 8,000 homes.

The plant, which has an installed capacity of 19.5 megawatts, is spread over 82 acres of rooftop in a single campus on multiple roofs at the Dera Baba Jaimal Singh, the world headquarters of the Radha Soami religious organization.

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and renewable energy resources minister Bikram Singh Majithia inaugurated the facility last week, to usher a "solar power revolution" and to motivate other Indian states to replicate similar projects, according to the Press Trust of India.

“Today, pollution has become a major source of worry and concern," Majithia told Reuters India, "and renewable energy is the way forward.”

Majithia boasts that the project will help reduce 400,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next 25 years, or the equivalent to planting nearly 200,000 trees.

"Besides," he said, "this project would also go a long way in creating awareness about eco-friendly solar power among the general public, as one crore [or ten million] devotees visit the Dera Baba Jaimal Singh annually," the Times of India reported.

The Rs 1.35 billion project was a collation between the Radha Soami's environmental and educational society and the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA).

PEDA director Balour Singh explained to the Times of India that there are several other 5 megawatt rooftop plants in various countries, including the U.S. and China, but India has the largest one that produces 11.5 megawatts of electricity.

The Hindustan Times reported that a power purchase agreement was signed between the Dera and the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited for 25 years.

"The first phase (7.5 megawatts) of this project was allotted in September 2013 and synchronised with the grid in April 2014. Later, the second phase (12 megawatts) was allotted in February 2015 and synchronised in December 2015," the publication explained.

At Re-Invest-2015, India's annual renewable energy exposition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi awarded Punjab for being one of the best performing states for solar capacity addition, ANI News noted.

Majithia said Punjab was producing only 9 megawatts of renewable energy till February 2012 but has since expanded to 470 megawatts and is expected to hit 1,080 megawatts by the end of the year.

The Indian government has an ambitious goal of achieving 100 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2022. The country has made incredible strides in renewable energy projects, such as its Cochin International Airport in the state of Kerala that's known as the world’s first 100 percent solar airport.


5 Floating Solar Farms Helping Power the World

5 Huge Climate Success Stories 10 Years After the Release of Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’

Faced by Falling Oil Prices and Plunging Profits, Big Oil Invests in Renewables

100% Clean Energy Economy Is Much Closer Than You Think

Show Comments ()

Skylines to Switch Off as Millions Connect to the Planet to Celebrate Earth Hour 2018

On Saturday, March 24 at 8:30 p.m. local time, skylines around the world will go dark as millions celebrate WWF's Earth Hour to spark global awareness and action on nature and the environment.

From the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building, and the Bird's Nest stadium to Burj Khalifa, thousands of landmarks will switch off their lights in solidarity for the planet, urging individuals, businesses and governments worldwide to move forward the conversations and solutions we need to build a healthy, sustainable future for all.

Keep reading... Show less
Save Ohio's Bobcat's is working to oppose a proposed trapping season for the recently-threatened feelines. Save Ohio's Bobcats

Concerned Ohioans Unite Against Bobcat Trapping Plan

Environmental activists, science educators and the Athens Ohio City Council are teaming up against a controversial new proposal by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife (ODNRDOW) to open a bobcat trapping season in the southeastern part of the state, The New Political reported Wednesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Industrial agribusiness is destroying our most precious natural resource—water. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services

From 'Sea to Shining Sea,' Industrial Ag Fouls America's Waterways

By Katherine Paul

A citizen-led group in Nebraska is fighting Costco's plan to build a huge chicken factory farm operation that residents in nearby cities say would pollute their drinking water.

Residents of Devils Lake, North Dakota, along with members of the Spirit Lake Nation Tribe are battling plans to build a hog CAFO in a neighboring community. They say the operation would pollute Devils Lake and area wetlands.

Keep reading... Show less
Plastic samples collected from the Great Pacific garbage patch. The Ocean Cleanup

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Now Twice the Size of Texas

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) floating off the coast of California now measures 1.6 million square kilometers (about 1 million square miles), according to a startling new study. To put that into perspective, the clump of trash is about the size of three Frances, or twice the size of Texas.

Not only that, the analysis, published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports, also revealed that the massive Pacific trash vortex contains up to 16 times more plastic than previous estimates—and could rapidly get worse.

Keep reading... Show less
Sulfide chimneys coated with iron-based microbial mat at Urashima Vent. Deep sea hydrothermal vents like these are targeted for mining. NOAA / Flickr

Deep Sea Mining Decisions: Approaching the Point of No Return

By Sebastian Losada

Over the last two weeks, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has been in discussions in Jamaica. Its mission—to work towards the finalization of exploitation regulations, a so-called mining code, that will allow commercial deep sea mining operations to begin all around the world.

In the quest for minerals, deep seabed mining means to extend mining activities into the deep ocean. The coming two years are critical in the opening—or not—of this unnecessary new frontier of resource exploitation.

Keep reading... Show less

One Mom’s Campaign to Save the Swimmers

By Stacy Malkan

"I want grandkids one day, so sperm is important to me because I've got three young boys," said mom, author and social media genius Leah Segedie in a video introducing her "Save the Swimmers" campaign.

"This is where my youngest rolls his eyes at me and says, 'I know Mom. Avoiding plastics can help save my swimmers, oooh kay.' But to me this is no laughing matter. Over 25 years of studies have demonstrated that these little sperm are crying out for help."

Keep reading... Show less

Can Food-Focused Medicine Cure Food-Related Disease?

By Julie Wilson

So-called "modern" food, produced through industrialized, chemical-intensive farming practices, is causing a host of chronic, hard-to-diagnose and hard-to-treat health problems in children and adults, say Michelle Perro, MD and Vincanne Adams, PhD, authors of What's Making Our Children Sick?

Keep reading... Show less
Protest against Arctic oil at Statoil commissioned rig in Norway. Greenpeace

'Kayaktivists' Board Rig Set to Drill Arctic

Peaceful "kayaktivists" from Greenpeace Norway boarded a Statoil-contracted rig set to drill two Arctic wells this year.

Two people boarded the rig at the Skipavik yard on Norway's west coast Thursday morning and have requested a meeting with the rig's captain.

Keep reading... Show less


The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!