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Saturday, August 16, 2008

India Goes Mega-Solar

by Catherine Brahic, online environment reporter, New Scientist, August 12, 2008

India may be home to the Tata Nano, the infamous micro car which has had environmentalists in a tizz, but there's also some incontestably good green news coming out of the country. According to the Business Standard, an Indian broadsheet, the Clinton Foundation is thinking of funding what would be the world's largest solar farm in Gujarat.

According to the paper, the "solar city" could generate 5 gigawatts of electricity. For comparison, other large-scale projects generate several orders of magnitude less. One of the largest solar farms in the world is about to be completed later this year in Moura in Portugal -- claimed to be the sunniest region of Europe. It is billed to generate 45 megawatts -- 1000 times less than the Gujarat farm, yet still enough to power 30,000 European homes.

Still, the foundation will have to move fast if it wants to (briefly) hold a world record. In July, US company Ecosystem Solar Electric Corp. announced that it would have a solar park in the Mojave desert within six years capable of generating 10 gigawatts, which is enough to power 10 million US homes.

There will always be another company announcing that it's about to open "the world's largest" solar energy park. That's good news. It's even better news that some of those are in developing countries.

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