Odisha’s Solar Potential 7x Higher Than Estimated: iFOREST Study
Utilising water bodies and wastelands can immensely boost solar capacity in the state
A recent study by the Indian Foundation for Forest and Environment Research and Studies (iFOREST) has claimed that the state of Odisha in eastern India has a solar potential of around 170 Gigawatt (GW), which is approximately seven times more than the estimates by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
According to the MNRE, Odisha has a total solar potential of 25.78 GW based on land utilisation patterns. However, the iFOREST study suggests that if wastelands and reservoirs are used moderately for solar energy generation, the state’s renewable energy potential is much higher.
The report has identified Rengali and Hirakund reservoirs as having the highest potential for solar power generation, with the ability to generate 3.7 GW of power. Upper Indravati and Balimela reservoirs are also identified as having the potential to generate over 1 GW of solar power each.
Experts who have worked in the renewable energy sector have praised the report for highlighting the potential of solar energy in Odisha. However, they have also pointed out the challenges that need to be addressed to execute the recommendations of the project.
According to Ashok Choudhury, a retired Joint Director from OREDA, the report provides a good indication of the state’s renewable energy potential based on secondary data. However, he highlighted challenges on the ground that need to be addressed to harness more renewable capacity.
The state government has taken several initiatives to increase the adoption of renewable energy sources, such as solar power. It has set a target of achieving 2.2 GW of solar energy capacity by 2022 and is currently implementing several solar projects, including a 600 MW solar park in the Balasore district.
Despite the challenges, there is good potential for solar power generation in Odisha, and it’s expected to encourage more investment in the renewable energy sector in the state. With a vast solar potential, Odisha can become one of the leading states in India in terms of solar power generation, contributing significantly to the country’s long-term renewable energy goals.
Via: The Hindu