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India’s solar-powered future clashes with local life

According to Keshav Prasad, the CEO of renewable energy company Saurya Urja, “Bhadla is almost unliveable,”

He is referring to the northwest Indian state of Rajasthan, which is home to a portion of the Thar Desert.

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There, temperatures can reach 50°C, and sandstorms are common, which makes the environment even more hostile.Information Guide Nigeria

However, Bhadla’s harsh environment makes it a perfect location for producing solar electricity.

Due to the abundant sunshine, Bhadla is home to the largest solar power farm in the world, which was partially constructed and run by Mr. Prasad’s Saurya Urja.

There are 10 million solar panels soaking up the sun, with a total output of 2,245 MW, or the power of 4.5 million homes.

Even while maintaining the cleanliness of the solar panels in such a sand- and dust-filled atmosphere is difficult, Mr. Prasad claims that managing such a sizable solar facility is still far easier than managing practically any other form of power plant.

“There is not much equipment involved. Solar panels, cables, inverters and transformers are almost all that are needed to run a plant,” he says.

Mukhtiyar Ali at Bhadla solar plant

The plant, which was completed in 2018, has brought investment and opportunities to one of India’s most remote regions.

“Most of the boys in my village did not study much. They were not ambitious, as our life was limited to the village, and our parents are farmers or into breeding cattle. But since the construction of the park, I realised the world is much bigger than my village,” says 18-year-old Mukhtiyar Ali.

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“Because of Bhadla Park many engineers, officers and educated people visit our villages, which has changed my perspective towards life.

“I want to be an officer [in the solar park] who has authority, respect, someone who can bring change in other people’s lives,” he says.

“Most of our livelihood was cattle rearing,” says Sadar Khan, the head of Bhadla village.

“Because all the government lands have been taken back, we don’t have enough land for cattle grazing. We are left with few animals,” he says.

He accepts that jobs have been created by the park, but says many of those jobs do not pay enough to survive on.

“There are not many solar jobs for locals except labourers, as most of us are uneducated.”

Mr Khan also complains that many locals still have no electricity connection.Jamb Result 

“We produce electricity, but still a number of villages in the nearby area are without electricity. So it’s good we are the largest solar park – but it should bring changes in our life.”

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing.

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