Indian District Becomes First Union Territory to Run Entirely on Solar Power

In a milestone for the India’s progress on adopting renewables, the union territory of Diu has announced that it is running entirely on solar energy.

Energy World reports:

In a span of three years, Diu has made rapid progress in solar power generation. Limited to a geographical area of just 42 sq km, Diu has become the first Union territory where more than 100% of the electricity need is being met by solar power. In spite of scarcity of land, solar power plants have been installed in over 50 acres of land.

Diu generates a total of 13 megawatts of electricity from solar power-generating facilities. Around 3MW is generated by rooftop solar plants and 10MW by its other solar power plants.

Prior to this announcement, the union territory was solely dependent on the neighboring Gujarat government for its water and electricity needs. This led to significant costs, as well as concerns about the territory’s energy security. As a result, the Diu government invested in creating a solar energy hub that would supply the territory.

The decision has reportedly translated into real-world financial savings, too, with a reduction in costs at about 12 percent. Obviously, those gains will fluctuate over time, but projections suggest that the cost decrease is sustainable. In fact, as the price of solar energy goes down and infrastructure improves, solar power plants could provide Diu’s 56,000 citizens with more savings.

While Diu was in a position to use its small land assets for solar energy, that’s not a feasible strategy for every principality. Even so, the territory’s efforts show that targeted solar energy investment can help to invigorate domestic energy markets and create new assets for trade.

The announcement also demonstrates that India’s push to adopt solar energy is creating new economic opportunities — and not just for major business institutions, but also working families.

Encouragingly, India’s solar energy development doesn’t appear to be slowing down any time soon.

India pledges billions to solar energy development

As well as investing domestically, India joined France this month to pledge around $2 billion in joint funding for solar energy projects in some of the world’s poorest nations. The hope is that by enabling developing nations — particularly those in Africa — to harness their own solar energy assets, they will cut energy costs and ensure a solid foundation for further economic growth.

Nature reports on the recent summit of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi: 

In his opening address, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged $1.4 billion to support solar-energy projects in Bangladesh and in developing countries in Africa. French President Emmanuel Macron committed €700 million (US$865 million) to the scheme.

“Pledges of $2-billion-plus are quite significant,” says solar-policy analyst Ashvini Kumar at the Energy and Resources Institute, a sustainable-development think-tank in New Delhi. “A number of programmes can be launched and sustained with this,” he says.

The wider significance of this pledge is evident in the goals made under the 2015 Paris Agreement. India, of course, was reluctant to sign unless concessions were made to protect its economic development and related fossil fuel use. At the same time, however, the country pledged to explore caps on usage, to set peak dates for that use and to heavily develop its renewable energy portfolio.

There have been encouraging signs on all of those fronts. India has pledged to reduce its thermal coal imports, and recent analyses show that peak coal use will not go above 10 percent more than current levels, and then will tail off within a decade.

In addition, India has embraced solar energy to such an extent that it is now cheaper than fossil fuels, in many cases. The fact that India is now investing in helping other solar-rich countries do the same shows that officials are taking commitments made under the Paris Agreement seriously — at least so far as they align with economic development.

Some studies show that India – and China, to a lesser extent — will be key territories in the climate change fight. We are currently behind on the global progress necessary to stop the 2ºC warming that scientists say could lead to serious consequences for our planet, but India’s solar energy boom serves as a reminder of what can be achieved through decisive action.

Photo Credit: freeimage4life/Flickr

54 comments

Marie W
Marie Wabout a month ago

Thanks.

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Rosslyn O
Rosslyn O6 months ago

Excellent advances and the world thanks you sincerely India, so proud of your countries efforts...Please refuse to buy the coal from Adarni as he wants to sell his own country the dirtier 2nd rate coal anyway. Proves he does not care about any environmental issues at all. We are still fighting to stop him stuffing up our country and reef.

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Virginia Miller
Virginia Miller6 months ago

Good info

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Shirley S
Shirley S6 months ago

Kudos for this innovation.

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Colin C
Colin C7 months ago

I went to Diu once, nice place good for them going solar

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Ian P
Ian P7 months ago

Brilliant news, I wish more places could do this.

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Patty L
Patty Langford7 months ago

Love it! tyfs

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Elizabeth Conlan
Elizabeth Conlan7 months ago

And we have a corrupt Indian creep who wants to come to Australia dig up our (not so beautiful now) country and take our valuable minerals from the ground, l am so ashamed and disgusted of our government for letting this happen.

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John B
John B7 months ago

Thanks Steve for sharing the great news. Kudos to the territory of Diu and to India for their commitment to fight Climate Change.

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Kate G
Kate G7 months ago

If only more places would follow suit.

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