Innovation That Matters

A solar generation and energy management system now powers the historic town of Modhera 24/7 | Photo source GreenPowerMonitor

India’s first full-time solar-powered town

Agriculture & Energy

The town runs off solar power 24 hours a day

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Spotted: Solar power is the world’s fastest-growing form of renewable energy. According to industry advocacy group SolarPower Europe, global solar capacity doubled in the three years from 2018, bringing the world’s solar capacity to one Terawatt in April 2022. While solar power has been slow to see growth in India, a new project in the town of Modhera in Gujarat state may help to change that.

Modhera is the first town in India to run off solar power 24/7. The plan to turn the town fully solar got its start in 2020, when the national government Ministry of New and Renewable Energy put out a tender for the Scheme – a pilot demonstration project intended to show that it was possible to run a small village or town (Modhera has 1400 residents) entirely on solar power.

The tender was to construct a solar photovoltaic power plant, a battery energy storage system, 271 rooftop solar arrays, smart meters, and electric vehicle charging equipment. Renewable energy digital services company GreenPowerMonitor was appointed to supply integrated onsite control, monitoring, data management, and display solutions for the hybrid power plant while Italian solar inverter manufacturer FIMER supplied six power conversion units.

GreenPowerMonitor’s power plant controller and energy management systems allow the batteries and other components to balance the power and storage needs to supply power to the town round the clock – without the need for other power sources. The hope is that this scheme will demonstrate the feasibility of installing similar systems in other rural areas. According to GreenPowerMonitor, “Combining solar PV and batteries in a hybrid project is challenging, but opens a wide range of possibilities to provide 100 percent renewable and clean energy to local communities…we hope that this becomes a standard solution and a benchmark in the renewable energy industry.” 

There is no shortage of ideas for using solar power to provide electrification to rural or off-grid areas. Springwise has recently covered a number of these, including a solar refrigerator that brings both cooling and power to off-grid communities and a school on wheels that uses solar power to bring education to remote areas in Uzbekistan. 

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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