The city of Diu has become India‘s first and only municipality to receive 100% of its energy needs from solar power. Located in the southern region of the Indian state of Gujarat, Diu is governed directly by the Indian federal government, which has prioritized the growth of solar energy throughout the country. In only three years of focused development, Diu has installed enough solar capacity to serve the energy needs of the city’s nearly 22,000 residents. It’s also in the running for Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s Smart Cities Mission initiative, which will provide funding and support to make 100 cities across India more sustainable and livable.
In previous years, residents of Diu received their power from the Gujarat state grid system, through which electricity was lost. Today, the locally-owned and operated power systems transport energy much more efficiently. Despite a land area of only 42 square kilometers, Diu is taking full advantage of its limited land resources. Solar power plants have been built on 50 acres throughout the city, which produces a capacity of 13 megawatts, 10 of which are from ground-based systems while 3 megawatts are sourced from rooftop systems. This is more than enough to meet Diu’s peak power demand of 7 megawatts.
The switch to solar has also proven to be economically advantageous for consumers in Diu, as monthly electric bills have fallen by around twelve percent since the new energy system has been operating. To cope with nighttime power needs, Diu may transfer surplus energy to the larger grid, then source energy as needed when the sun is not shining. Diu is only one example of India’s solar push. Much further south, the Kochi International Airport holds the distinct honor of being the world’s first solar-powered airport.