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.
Nice! Punjab, India gets the world’s largest single rooftop solar plant https://t.co/6owptO8Rve https://t.co/d5LZZZrH9n— Greenpeace (@Greenpeace)1463692304.0
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.
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.
VIDEO: India launches renewable energy project expected to provide clean energy to power 8,000 homes in Punjab. https://t.co/K2aKihamnh— Reuters India (@Reuters India)1463669862.0
"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.
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.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Naomi Larsson
For centuries, the delicate silver dove has been a symbol of love and fidelity.
Biodiversity and Habitat Loss<p>Their near extinction is a symbol of the <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/global-biodiversity-outlook-targets-extinction-summit-new-york-pledge/a-54932895" target="_blank">biodiversity crisis</a> in the UK, largely driven by habitat destruction. Britain is now one of the countries with the most <a href="https://www.wwf.org.uk/future-of-UK-nature#:~:text=The%20UK%20is%20one%20of,than%20half%20are%20in%20decline" target="_blank">depleted nature</a> in the world according to the World Wildlife Fund. Half its plant and animal species are in decline and more than <a href="https://www.rspb.org.uk/about-the-rspb/about-us/media-centre/press-releases/let-nature-sing-wales/#:~:text=a%20natural%20tragedy.-,Over%2040%20million%20birds%20have%20vanished%20from%20UK%20skies%20in,unaware%20of%20the%20impending%20danger" target="_blank">40 million birds</a> have vanished in just half a century.</p><p>"[Turtle doves] are the canary in the [coal] mine because there are all these other species before it and after it," said Tree. "It's an umbrella for all the other species that are heading that way."</p><p>Turtle doves migrate south through Europe to sub-Saharan Africa between July and September, ending up in dry woodland and farmland areas of countries like Mali and Senegal for winter. </p><p>Droughts in West Africa and the Sahel region are believed to have contributed to the fall in turtle dove species recorded in northern Europe, with low rainfall reducing supplies of the seeds and insects the birds rely on for energy for the long journey home.</p>
Conservation and Farming<p><a href="https://www.operationturtledove.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Operation Turtle Dove,</a> a partnership project of charities including the Essex Wildlife trust, works with landowners and farmers to actively build turtle dove habitat.</p><p>Outten works with <a href="https://www.ebws.org.uk/birdsites/blue-house-farm-ewt-north-fambridge" target="_blank">Blue House Farm</a>, a 660-acre nature reserve in the UK county of Essex, where they have replicated weedy fallow plots. </p><p>"We work on it every year to make sure it's in the condition it needs to be with plants such as clovers and black medic," Outten said. "These plants are native to the landscape and produce the seed the birds feed on." </p><p>The birds eat a wide range of seeds from various plants that would have been abundant 50 or 100 years ago, added Guy Anderson, program manager for species recovery with The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). </p><p>"But it's simply true that with the gradual process of <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/farming-without-pesticides-how-can-we-make-agriculture-greener/a-52216796" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">intensifying our agricultural production</a>, the availability of those seeds has dropped and dropped," said Anderson.</p><p>Part of the project includes supplementary feeding — providing sources of food in the form of seed or grain. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme in England, farmers can receive financial support to create a turtle dove habitat. </p><p>Though they haven't recorded an increase in doves across the sites in the four years of working on the project, Outten said they are seeing improvements in how landowners and farmers manage habitat for the birds. </p>
A Turtle Dove Haven<p>The 3,500-acre Knepp Estate in West Sussex is another project taking a different approach and one of the few places where turtle dove numbers are increasing.</p><p>Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell converted their intensively farmed land into a rewilding project almost 20 years ago. They have let the land return to nature.</p><p>Just one year after they'd finished <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/uks-most-talented-architects-are-not-human/a-35952128" target="_blank">rewilding</a> the southern part of their property, they heard turtle doves for the first time. It's now a breeding hotspot for the birds with an estimated 19 pairs. Knepp is also home to <a href="https://www.rewildingbritain.org.uk/rewilding/rewilding-projects/knepp-estate" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2% of the UK's population</a> of nightingales. </p><p>Tree is critical of supplementary feeding schemes that, in her view, are short term. She questions the chances of turtle doves getting to feed on scattered seeds before other mammals eat them first.</p>
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Green groups applauded Sen. Jeff Merkley on Wednesday for introducing a pioneering pair of bills that aim to "protect the long-term health and well-being of the American people and their economy from the catastrophic effects of climate chaos" by preventing banks and international financial institutions from financing fossil fuels.