Two team members of the GoST: Governance of Sociotechnical Transformations team have been assessing the impacts of the Pavagada Solar Park – Asia’s soon-to-be largest solar park.
To achieve the current installed capacity of about 2,500 MW, 3,000 acres of farm and common lands had to be diverted in the Tumkur district of Karnataka in India. Another 1,400 MW are proposed to be installed for which additional 10,000 acres need to be leased from farmers. Together this will turn Pavagada Solar Park into the largest solar power plant in one single location. As a consequence, Karnataka is a leader in reaching India’s goal to achieve 130 GW production from renewable energy sources. Yet little or no evidence of the impacts of such large solar parks exists. Thus, to assess the situation on the ground, Bhargavi S. Rao and Leo Saldanha, of the the Environment Support Group (ESG) and the GoST project, have been undertaking multiple visits to affected areas.
Interviews have been conducted with impacted communities, officials of the park, and revenue officers involved in aggregating land. In the coming months, interviews will be undertaken with key leading officials of the agency guiding the programme in Karnataka and India .