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India To Build World's Largest Solar Plant

Soulskill posted about 8 months ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Power 253

ananyo writes "India has pledged to build the world's most powerful solar plant. With a nominal capacity of 4,000 megawatts, comparable to that of four full-size nuclear reactors, the 'ultra mega' project will be more than ten times larger than any other solar project built so far, and it will spread over 77 square kilometres of land — greater than the island of Manhattan. Six state-owned companies have formed a joint venture to execute the project, which they say can be completed in seven years at a projected cost of US$4.4 billion. The proposed location is near Sambhar Salt Lake in the northern state of Rajasthan."

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Good for them.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158495)

...they can put it beside the world's largest slums.

Re:Good for them.... (-1, Troll)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#46158595)

Build the array up off the ground and they'll have a head start on roofs for new slums.

Re:Good for them.... (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46158619)

Believe it or not, even with 1.2 billion people India still has vast tracts of empty land. This 30 square miles is not a big deal.

Re:Good for them.... (4, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | about 8 months ago | (#46158747)

30 square miles of unfarmable salt flats, solar is a pretty good use of the space, really. Not to mention jump starting the local solar panel industry something fierce.

Re:Good for them.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158817)

It is unfortunately too close to the Pakistani borders. Almost a wrong location for critical infrastructure to go up.... irrespective of the state of peace or lack of, that exists at the current moment.

I love numbers but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158501)

Is 4.4 billion cost effective? Is there subsidies that make it cost effective? How does this compare to other forms of electricity consumption. To throw numbers around without context reminds me of this observation by Randall Monroe:

http://blog.xkcd.com/2013/05/15/dictionary-of-numbers/

Re:I love numbers but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158519)

Sorry hasty post. I meant are* and electricity production*

Re:I love numbers but.... (5, Informative)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46158635)

Compared to nuclear, there's no radioactive waste to dispose of, there's no nuclear proliferation worries and there's no lengthy and costly decommissioning process.
There's also no risk of Fukushima/Chernobyl/Long Island/etc

Projected Nuclear Power Plant Construction Costs Are Soaring
The construction cost estimates for new nuclear power plants are very uncertain and have increased significantly in recent years. Companies that are planning new nuclear units are currently indicating that the total costs (including escalation and financing costs) will be in the range of $5,500/kW to $8,100/kW or between $6 billion and $9 billion for each 1,100MW plant.

http://www.synapse-energy.com/... [synapse-energy.com]

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46158767)

"There's also no risk of Fukushima/Chernobyl/Long Island/etc"

I think you mean Three Mile Island

I don't think there is a nuclear eactor in NYC

Re:I love numbers but.... (1, Funny)

R3d M3rcury (871886) | about 8 months ago | (#46158889)

You're probably right. But let's be clear--we definitely don't want another Long Island [bravotv.com] .

Re:I love numbers but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159083)

"There's also no risk of Fukushima/Chernobyl/Long Island/etc"

I think you mean Three Mile Island

I don't think there is a nuclear eactor in NYC

Indian Point [wikipedia.org] is 38 miles away from NYC.

Re:I love numbers but.... (2)

michael_cain (66650) | about 8 months ago | (#46159237)

The Shoreham nuclear plant was built on the north shore of Long Island, but was never operated.

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46159401)

Bingo.

Re:I love numbers but.... (2)

compro01 (777531) | about 8 months ago | (#46158643)

4.4 billion for 4GW is $1100/KW, which is about comparable to simple cycle natural gas turbines, IIRC.

But NG is peaking and dispatchable as hell, unlike solar.

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 8 months ago | (#46158975)

4.4 billion for 4GW is $1100/KW, which is about comparable to simple cycle natural gas turbines, IIRC.

But NG is peaking and dispatchable as hell, unlike solar.

That's a good comparison, but it's not that simple. With each one you have to pay maintenance and operating costs, and with NG that includes the gas itself. With solar, when comparing capacity, the sun doesn't shine 24hrs/day and presumably the stated capacity is maximum and not average. So to compare costs, what's the total cost per GWh over X years?

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#46159111)

How much natural gas is available in India though?

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

michael_cain (66650) | about 8 months ago | (#46159279)

NG burned in properly designed turbines, or to fire a more conventional boiler, is used extensively for baseload generation in some parts of the US. Siemens has been building baseload gas turbines for going on 20 years now.

Re:I love numbers but.... (0)

beelsebob (529313) | about 8 months ago | (#46158793)

It's incredibly cost effective, a typical nuclear plant will cost $8-12bn just in construction costs, so this is already 1/12th the price of nuclear in terms of construction.

Re:I love numbers but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158883)

This is not correct.

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 8 months ago | (#46158917)

Well Bruce Nuclear [wikipedia.org] which is one of the largest power generating sites in the world cost 14.4B, and has a generating capacity of ~6300MW. Most of which is sold to the US. So I guess it depends on what you define as cost effective, since the reactors have long since recouped their cost since '77.

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46159033)

You don't know if they have paid off the investment if they haven't disposed of the toxic waste they created making the electricity. Have they?

The Bruce station area is also the site of OPG's Western Waste Management Facility (WWMF). The WWMF stores all the low and intermediate level nuclear waste from the operation of OPG's 20 nuclear reactors, including those leased to Bruce Power. As of 2009, there are 11 Low level storage buildings.

That would be "no."

Re:I love numbers but.... (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46159505)

Now add the cost of decommissioning the plant and the ongoing cost of fuel. Then the cost of storing the waste fuel for longer than civilization has existed...

That plant chews through 500 tons of fuel a year.

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159015)

Plus, the only fuel you need to put in it is. . . just set it out in the sun for free. Every day.

No random middle-eastern countries to invade and occupy.
No uncomfortable alliances with tyrants or dictators.
No horrible toxic spills spewing into our waterways.

Solar PV has been a no-brainer for 40 years, and we still can't seem to convince people that it's the right way to go.

Re: I love numbers but.... (1)

crdotson (224356) | about 8 months ago | (#46159087)

If it is a no brainer, go start a company and make a billion dollars! No....?

Re: I love numbers but.... (2)

AK Marc (707885) | about 8 months ago | (#46159489)

Doing it may be a no brainer, but that doesn't guarantee profit marking it up for other people.

Re:I love numbers but.... (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about 8 months ago | (#46159051)

77 sqkm=77e+6 sqm
Solar constant [wikipedia.org] approx 1300w/sqm
=>total incident power = approx 1e+11 W.

Declared output 4000MW =4e9 W.
if assume this to be the peak power, the conversion efficiency is 4% - WTH??

if assuming this to be power averaged over an entire daylight period.... mmmm... let's ignore axis titl and assume equatorial position=> (-pi/2, pi/2) Sun's ecliptic travel over daylight. Cosine law integrated over the (-pi/2, pi/2) gives a factor of 2, while the max area (if the sun would be straight on top the entire day) would be pi. So, an averaging (fill) factor of 2/pi=0.64. so, if we are speaking 4000MV averaged over the day, the peak power would be 6283.18 MW. Dividing to 1e+11W=> conversion efficiency: 6.28%.

What type solar panels are they going to use??!!! The regular/consumer grade PV panels are somewhere around 11-12%!!

Re:I love numbers but.... (3, Funny)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#46159149)

Your assumption is that the panels will be edge-to-edge, covering 100% of that 77 sqkm area. Given that the panels need to tilt for efficiency, and you obviously can't tilt a single 77sqkm panel, there has to be some gap between each independently-tiltable set of panels.

Also, industrial-scale solar collection is usually done using focusing mirrors and liquid sodium, not PV panels

I like that you put forth the effort to do the math though

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46159529)

Also, TFA says it's a PV installation.

Re:I love numbers but.... (1)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#46159439)

You leave out a number of critical factors (such as atmospheric absorption including weather, and angle of incidence) reducing that peak 1300 w/m^2 figure. Rather than try to identify them all, as well as errors in the factors you do consider ...

All the data collection and math for solar energy received at ground level, averaged night and day for a year, has already been done [gwu.edu] . The best locations in the continental US (by far) are around El Paso TX, southern NM, large parts of AZ, and some of southern CA. The cream of the cream receives 6.4-6.8 kWh/m^2/day (2300-2500 kWh/m^2/year). This represents an average power of 260-290 W/m^2. For 77 km^2 that would total 20-22 GW total. The figures assume solar cells statically tilted at the best fixed angle.

Factor in a solar cell efficiency of 20% (about par for the course [wikipedia.org] ), and you get 4-4.4 GW. There are further minor reductions due to less than 100% transparency of the protective covering over the solar cells, dirt on same, power busing and conversion of voltage and DC to AC, a small percentage of the billions of solar cells being defective at any given time, less than 100% coverage of the surface with solar cells, etc.

But overall, assuming they can find a place in India essentially matching the best locations in the continental US, the quoted figure of "over 4 GW" for average appears to be a valid achievable performance. The peak output would be very roughly 4 times that.

assumes forcefully taking your paycheck is free (1, Flamebait)

raymorris (2726007) | about 8 months ago | (#46159065)

> Is 4.4 billion cost effective? Is there subsidies that make it cost effective?

Subsidies would come from whom? The taxpayers, right? The underlying assumption there is "perhaps it's not cost effective, except that forcefully taking someone's paycheck has no cost, so any tax money used is magical free money that can turn a bad idea into a good idea".

If it's not cost effective, it's not, period. Forcefully taking the citizens paychecks to pay for it, aka subsidy, does not magically make it cost effective. It just makes it forced cost rather than a voluntary one.

Re:assumes forcefully taking your paycheck is free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159283)

I am the OP. Absolutely agree. The reason why I asked if there were subsidies is for that very point you make. Some give figures and talk about cost effectiveness and omit any subsidy information.

Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158507)

I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks this way

Re:Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (3, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46158525)

4,000MW is 4 jiggawatts...

Re: Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (1)

John Howell (2861885) | about 8 months ago | (#46158679)

So this will power 3 delorians for a 30 year temporal displacement?

Re: Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46159415)

I don't think the power requirement has anything to do with the time.

Re:Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158827)

I gotta go back in time and tell doc that it's possible to use solar panels for this. "Back to the Future 5: Climate Fighters"

Re:Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#46159153)

There was a Back to the Future 4?

Re:Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 8 months ago | (#46159501)

Yes. In the future, there was a Back to the Future 4.

Re:Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 8 months ago | (#46159517)

Its in the future.

Re:Not impressed until it hits jiggawatts (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158529)

Wait till Google gets on board to out do them with 5 GiggleWatts. :)

with ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158531)

dirt service roads, poplated often by cattle, with rat shrines dotted here and there.

77 sq kilos seems like a lot, but it isn't so big. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158561)

5 miles on a side, we have that kind of space in arid nevada... like it's nothing.

Re:77 sq kilos seems like a lot, but it isn't so b (5, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46158673)

Line losses would ruin efficiency though. I'm pretty sure they're set on building it in India.

Re:77 sq kilos seems like a lot, but it isn't so b (0)

rossdee (243626) | about 8 months ago | (#46158785)

I think GP meant that they could build a solar plant in NV for powering US grid. not India
Anyway NV may have betteer weather for solar generally, I don't know how much a solar plant works in the monsoon season.

Re:77 sq kilos seems like a lot, but it isn't so b (3, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 8 months ago | (#46158963)

Two nuns and a lumberjack walk into a bar. The first nun turns to the lumberjack and asks "do you know how to ruin a joke?"

Re: 77 sq kilos seems like a lot, but it isn't so (4, Informative)

arvindsg (1757328) | about 8 months ago | (#46159049)

Aravali hills have Rajasthan on on Levard side, not even much rain there even during monsoons

Convenient (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 8 months ago | (#46158589)

When you have State funding and a free pass on environmental regulations.

Re:Convenient (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158607)

better than building yet another nculear reactor ....

Re:Convenient (3, Informative)

rubycodez (864176) | about 8 months ago | (#46158629)

and the sun is blazing in your land

Re:Convenient (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159257)

Convenient

When you have a government which doesn't actively oppose solar power.

If the Chinese government was allowed to make campaign contributions and hire lobbyists, solar would be everywhere in the USA ...

Centralization. (0)

hackus (159037) | about 8 months ago | (#46158615)

In Government is bad.
In Politics is bad.
In a network routing topology is bad. (See software defined networks...possibly the worst idea since Target was hacked.)
In a Cluster of machines is bad.
In a storage topology is bad.
[...about 10x10^27 items later....]

Oh and the last one....building centralized power grids is bad.

Its bad during disasters....its bad economics in its distribution....

Just plain bad.

It is good though when a few people want to control it all for nefarious purposes though. See above.

Re:Centralization. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158651)

What's centralized? It's only a miniscule 4.0 GW power plant.

Re:Centralization. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158809)

Got domain name renewal? Aww, too hard to figure out? Too bad.

Awesome and pragmatic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158625)

While Space Nutters howl and groan and wring their hands over space-based fantasies that make no sense whatsoever under any rational analysis (Solaren ready yet?), pragmatic people build real things with real materials. Right here. Right now.

Good job. Some societies lose their way by worshiping the cargo cults of the past, or climbing up their own asses into fantasy delusion land. Some societies just build things.

Which one do you want to be?

The one with really good space propaganda posters and movies, or the one with lights that work?

There are no "space nutters" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158749)

"Space Nutters" do not exist. You have never encountered one. You will respond with lies, and nothing else.

Re:There are no "space nutters" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158801)

There are no people who think colonizing other planets makes sense? There are no people who think space-based solar power makes sense? There are no people who think asteroid mining makes sense? There are no people who seriously talk about "this rock" and "the species"?

Re:There are no "space nutters" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158853)

There are people who assert that the problems that make those things impossible or unfeasible at present are or will one day be solvable. They may be wrong, but having that opinion does not make someone a "Space Nutter", or any other kind of "nutter". You are aware of this fact.

You responded with nothing but lies, as I said you would. You will now do it again.

Re:There are no "space nutters" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159041)

Believing such theories in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary and rabidly defending those points of view with logical fallacies such as:

but but but computers got better!

Oh yeah well they said man would never fly!

Exploration!

Spinoffs!

makes you a Space Nutter. Saying stuff like "You responded with nothing but lies, as I said you would. You will now do it again.", while responding to my post makes you an imbecile. A fatuous, simpering facile jejune buffoon. It's hilarious to me that you said I'd lie but you responded to my post because you KNOW I'm right, and you KNOW such people exist. It's almost trivial to prove it, you just need to wait at most one day on here for them to crawl out of the woodwork.

You will now respond in kind. You always do. (Geee that was fun! It's good to turn off your brain once in a while. See you on Fark tomorrow. My resuscitation will be 3D printed.)

Paranoid Anxiety Neurosis: (1)

Hartree (191324) | about 8 months ago | (#46158829)

So... Do you still lie awake at night hiding under the covers because of all the "Space Nutters" plotting against you?

Oh no! There may be one under your bed RIGHT NOW!

Re:Paranoid Anxiety Neurosis: (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159477)

That's a good place for Space Nutters to be, that's where I keep my Feynman Lectures on Physics and Asimov books on biology and physics. That stuff is like garlic or holy water for Space Nutters. Actual knowledge, facts and numbers as opposed to rose-tinted optimistic uncritical gee-whiz sci-fi fantasies.

Let me check... Nope, no Space Nutters here. Maybe if I put dry rusty sand and a deadly radiation source under my bed, Space Nutters will come? If only I could get an environment chamber and pump it down to about 1 mTorr and keep it at -200C?

You know what else isn't under my bed? Space based solar power.

Ouch.

Go on, show me where Solaren is at right now. Has there been a single picowatt beamed down yet from that clown operation? Hmmm?

Here, some reality for you:

http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the... [ucsd.edu]

To paraphrase Histrionic McSpacePants up there: You will now proceed to completely ignore reality, or respond with hysterical religious fervor. You always do. (Gosh, that IS fun, I might have to steal that routine! No one said dealing with mental patients can't be fun!)

Weather Forecast (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158637)

Cloudy.

Re:Weather Forecast (3, Informative)

jma05 (897351) | about 8 months ago | (#46159135)

Rajastan is the Arizona of India with its Thar desert
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

Plenty of sunshine. Not cloudy at all. Not enough power infrastructure. Cheap, non-arable land.
Solar is a no-brainer for Rajastan.

The way of the future (2)

aphelion_rock (575206) | about 8 months ago | (#46158639)

Congratulations to India for leading the world on a big step away from fossil fuels.
This is what all the world should be doing if we are going to reduce the effects of global warming and climate change.

Re:The way of the future (3, Insightful)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#46159479)

Congratulations to India for leading the world on a big step away from fossil fuels.
This is what all the world should be doing if we are going to reduce the effects of global warming and climate change

India has an installed capacity of 234 GW [wikipedia.org] . I'm not sure that adding solar power of less than 2% of that figure counts as a "big step away from fossil fuels". Necessary beginning step, sure. Commendable, arguably. Significant, maybe. Precursor to "big", possibly.

Have fun keeping that clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158647)

Sucks to be the guys that have to clean them.

Re:Have fun keeping that clean (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158777)

Err you mean the people get paid to be out in the sun washing windows at engineer technician wages because they are dealing with high cost instruments? Because you'd rather be th guy in the contamination suit trying to avoid the radiation, or the engineer in the coal plant whose family has an issue with cancer because they live so close to the coal plant..

Re:Have fun keeping that clean (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#46159217)

They have robots for this now:
http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/e... [nikkeibp.co.jp]

It's basically a Roomba for solar panels

India news (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158655)

In other news, 12 women have been raped in the last hour in Bombay.

Re: India news (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158691)

As opposed to other countries where nobody gets raped?

Epic-scale photovoltaic (5, Interesting)

steveha (103154) | about 8 months ago | (#46158689)

According to TFA, this will be a huge photovoltaic plant. But as I understand it, solar thermal is more efficient, and for a large centralized project like that, I would have expected solar thermal.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]

Does anyone know why they are going photovoltaic for this project?

Photovoltaic certainly does have some pluses: it's simple, no moving parts. But for a project of this capacity I should think they would go for the most efficient solution.

Plus a thermal solution with molton salt [wikipedia.org] would provide a nontrivial amount of storage, for power after dark.

So, what am I missing? Does India have lots of factories making photovoltaic cells or something?

Re:Epic-scale photovoltaic (2)

taiwanjohn (103839) | about 8 months ago | (#46158845)

Good point, especially about storage. That has always been the bugbear of renewables. OTOH, there are new storage technologies coming available in the next couple of years, such as liquid metal batteries, sodium ion batteries, water-moderated compressed air, and probably some others I haven't heard about. But of course there's no mention of any kind of storage in TFA, so who knows if/when/how it will ever be implemented.

Frankly, this project sounds like one of those feel-good boondoggles dreamed up by big gubmint and big biznuss collaboration. I tend to agree with the "environmentalist" quoted in TFA: solar PV is far better suited to decentralized/distributed small-scale installations.

Re:Epic-scale photovoltaic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158881)

Makes sense. Big complex systems require a LOT of maintenance, yes, you can have storage, but molten salt ?, liquid from hell, and failures will take large parts of the plant out. PV, you disconnect the faulty panels and back up in hours.
Molten salt, only needs a contractor supplying sub-spec metals and you have a dead plant.

Engineered against corruption ?

Re:Epic-scale photovoltaic (5, Interesting)

slew (2918) | about 8 months ago | (#46158949)

So, what am I missing? Does India have lots of factories making photovoltaic cells or something?

Why not Solar Thermal? As I understand it...

1. Lack of local companies that make solar thermal equipment (aka CSP or concentrated solar power).
2. Lack of experience with large deployment unlike PV like 50:1 in MW to date (no experience means no reference projects to predict ROI for contracting companies or investment banks)
3. Lack of water resources for cooling (most simple solar thermal needs reliable-access to cooling water to avoid equipment malfunction).

Of course India could deploy a minimal water solar thermal solution (e.g., air cooled or maybe Heller towers), but they have even less experience with that and most government funded programs require a minimum make-local percentage.

Re:Epic-scale photovoltaic (3, Interesting)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 8 months ago | (#46159007)

It's cheaper.

There is a glut of photovoltaics on the world market ever since the european countries cut the subsidies. Most notably Spain and, more recently, Germany. Which is responsible for the sudden drop in prices. It is not better technology, despite what the propaganda claims (otherwise solar power companies wouldn't go bankrupt all over Germany).

And yes, solar thermal is more useful on paper. Unfortunately it takes up just as much space as PV and needs lots of water for it cooling towers. However, solar thermal depends on very stable weather patterns. It cannot tolerate cloudy days very well - so you'd best build it in a desert, where cooling water is kind of rare as you can imagine. You'd need 24 million cubic meters of cooling water per year for an equal sized solar-thermal power plant.

What would be needed for PV to work is storage. Hydrogen/methane seems to be the only plausible/scalable solution so far. Unfortunately, even with the best technology we have on the planet, you'll need at least 3kWh electricty to get 1kWh of electricity back out of storage. Thus the average power of the power plant will drop from 800MW down to about 500MW, assuming that at least some part of the power will be used directly. (The amount of storage that is necessary depends on a lot of factors, mostly what power is available from other sources and how variable the weather patterns and seasons are. So 500MW is just a ballpark figure.)

Re:Epic-scale photovoltaic (2)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#46159249)

Germany is a terrible place for solar. Minnesota gets more sun energy per year than Germany

well that's a shame (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 8 months ago | (#46158721)

Too bad their electrical infrastructure is like a spider web that got caught in a hurricane.

However, this is smarter than it seems on the surface. If you lose 60% of your electricity during transport due to crappy, outdated lines and equipment, it's a hell of a lot better if solar was the source. If it was a CO2-emitting source, that's an awful lot worse. If it's the sun, you really didn't lose anything.

I am concerned about their ability to store the electricity for night time or when it's not sunny. Even the US hasn't perfected that one.

Re:well that's a shame (4, Informative)

PPH (736903) | about 8 months ago | (#46159061)

spider web that got caught in a hurricane.

No kidding [regmedia.co.uk] .

Cost of transmission (1, Troll)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 8 months ago | (#46158743)

I wonder if those estimates include the transmission infrastructure to carry the electricity to high usage areas? The Wind Farm rush of West Texas had every energy company throwing up wind turbines to get the government subsidies. Next thing you knew there was more power generation in West Texas than the transmissions lines could carry back to Dallas where it was needed. The cost of storing electricity is more than it is worth so large amounts of electricity were being shunted directly into the ground while E.R.C.O.T. [ercot.com] decided how to build out the new transmission lines. That project alone took 5 years and cost around 4 Billion.

'I thank you for your time (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158759)

irc.3asynews.com fear the Reaper

home solar (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158765)

Cheap government subsidized home solar panels would be better. Solar hot water heaters. And even solar rechargeable led lamps. India should also put more focus on hydro. Hydro can provide both power and water.

Solar is kill (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158769)

>77 sqkm
Thanks, but no thanks.
Solar takes too much space, manufacturing produces pollution and over all that, it's unreliable.
Why do we try to harvest the energy of a fusion reactor that is few light seconds away when we could potentially make our own reactors here on earth?

Re:Solar is kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158919)

fusion reactor that is few light seconds away

Think we'd be in a bit of trouble if the sun was that close. Might want to check that figure ;)

Re: Solar is kill (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158999)

My bad *light minutes*

Re:Solar is kill (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#46159321)

They are installing these panels on salt flats. It's not really a waste of space if you can't use the area for anything else.

As for using the "reactor" in space: we don't have to worry about it blowing up (technically, it's already exploding), we don't have to worry about it leaking out into the environment, we don't have spend effort to maintain the reaction in any way, and we don't have to deal with the spent fuel.

It's not even comparable to a single nuclear plant (4, Informative)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 8 months ago | (#46158783)

First of all: It will generate less energy than that. Averaged over the year about 800MW. The amount of energy it will generate between 6pm and 6am is roughly zilch. During the short time around noon, when it will generate on the order of 3+GW (depending on weather, season, condition of the solar cells etc.), there will be no industry capable of actually using it, because 2-4 hours of electricity a day is simply not worth the investment. (Before and after this time, the power drops off quickly.) Even 8 hours would be too short, because you'll need 2 or 3 factories working in parallel for 8 hours a day to produce as much as a single factory can in 16 or 24 hours.

Finally wrap your head around the fact that quality of service cannot be compared by using peak power generation.

P.S.: Yes, noon is just the right time to get your air conditioning started, but unfortunately, when it comes to India the question is mostly: What air-conditioning are you talking about?

Re:Solar marketshare going up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158983)

Yet we did it in United States, China, India, Germany...

Re:It's not even comparable to a single nuclear pl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159115)

How about cheap EV charging hours?

Re:It's not even comparable to a single nuclear pl (3, Informative)

willy_me (212994) | about 8 months ago | (#46159311)

This generation can be used to offset the additional load of air conditioners - it is not going to be the only power source. Considering that air conditioners use the most power when it is sunny, it actually works out all right.

Re:It's not even comparable to a single nuclear pl (1)

sir-gold (949031) | about 8 months ago | (#46159355)

You claim that it will produce less energy that stated in the article. Have you seen the blueprints or something? How are you are in a position to know more about it's capacity than the people who designed it?

Re:It's not even comparable to a single nuclear pl (2)

alphatool (603160) | about 8 months ago | (#46159451)

Like most questions, the answer is in TFA. The plant will produce about "6.4 billion kilowatt-hours per year". This averages out over a year at 730 MW, so tp1024 was actually being generous with 800 MW.

Re:It's not even comparable to a single nuclear pl (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159377)

The thing is there is an energy crisis in India. So the more the sources of power the better. It's not like this will THE only source, we have other sources of power too you know.

OB: Oh yeah, but... (-1, Flamebait)

rueger (210566) | about 8 months ago | (#46158789)

Just to save time, let's all agree that solar power could never, ever, ever work in North America. Or wind. Obviously the blah blah blah mumble mumble obfuscate is so different here that it would be impossible.

Also, the North American sun is like TOTALLY different from the Indian sun.

I'm sure this will end well. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46158941)

I'm sure this will end well.

(sarcasm)

Faxanadu (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 8 months ago | (#46159005)

We can plant a house, we can build a tree.

Here's how it compares to 4 nuclear plants... (4, Insightful)

KonoWatakushi (910213) | about 8 months ago | (#46159057)

"The solar photovoltaic power plant will have an estimated life of 25 years and is expected to supply 6.4 billion kilowatt-hours per year, according to official figures."

For reference, a single 1GWe nuclear plant operating at (a conservative) 0.85 capacity factor will produce 7.45 TW-hours/year of reliable power. So this solar plant isn't the equivalent of one reactor, much less four. Considering that nuclear plants typically last 60 years and AP1000s are near $2/W in China, the solar option costs five times as much over that time frame.

While this solar farm is idle at night and unreliable by day, the transmission infrastructure must be built to handle the full capacity of the equivalent four nuclear plants, and it will sit idle most of the time. The solar option makes no economic sense, when instead they could purchase two actual 1GWe nuclear plants, and have 15 TW-hours/year of reliable power for more than twice as long.

Re:Here's how it compares to 4 nuclear plants... (0)

fnj (64210) | about 8 months ago | (#46159525)

You comparison is way off. 4 GW is the average output. The number of hours in a year is 8766. That works out to 35 TWh/y for the solar plant.

India (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159095)

Better than nuclear power plants?

corruption, NOT science (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46159143)

India is about the most corrupt high-level nation on the planet. A 'greenlight' to a project like this is about money in the back-pockets of key people, and nothing else.

Here's a clue for the clueless. Despite urban myth nonsense about US oil companies suppressing more efficient car engines and the like, if there was ANY possible real benefit to a giant solar plant, the USA would be there first. When the usual suspects have no interest in this form of engineering, you can take it for granted that it is junk science.

Re:corruption, NOT science (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about 8 months ago | (#46159299)

Didn't I read on Slashdot not too long ago that the US military was investing in solar research? Here. [slashdot.org] Junk science, indeed?

And the secondary benefit... (1)

Paul Taylor (3526137) | about 8 months ago | (#46159453)

...will be providing shade and partial shelter for the millions of homeless. That is priceless. I really wish this project well.
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