Modhera is a village situated in the Mehsana district of Gujarat, a state along the Western coast of India known for its large-scale solar plants. The town is also the site of the famous Sun Temple, a beautiful Hindu temple dedicated to the solar deity Surya. Having this context in mind, no wonder that Modhera has become the first solar-powered village in the world and, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, an example of “reconciliation between humankind and planet.”

Technical aspects

Modhera is powered by solar energy 24/7. Its energy needs are satisfied by the six-megawatt solar power plant in Sujjanpura village nearby. Modhera’s average electricity consumption ranges from one to two megawatts, so the excess is given back to the grid. Both India’s central and state governments invested around 8.3 million euros into the project, but it seems that the project is worth the money.

The ground-mount solar plant, covering around 12 hectares of land, is not the only component of Modhera’s solar energy system. It also has a 15 MW battery storage system and 1 KW roof-mount installations mounted on 1300 (out of 1600) houses in the village. Modhera’s government buildings have more powerful 316 KW rooftop systems.

Consumers use smart-energy meters to optimize their consumption. The Sun Temple also runs a 3D projection powered entirely by solar and also has 150 KW battery storage with electric charging stations.

During the day Modhera receives electricity from solar panels, while the battery storage system covers the energy needs during the night.

Community response

Modhera’s residents are very happy with such innovations — their electricity bills got lower from 60 to 100 percent and such clean energy doesn’t have any negative impact on the environment. Moreover, some citizens also profit from selling the excess energy back to the grid.

People claim that they save thousands of rupees on electricity and that going full-time solar really improved their quality of life and empowered local people on the grassroots level. UN secretary general Antonio Guterres paid a visit to the village during his recent trip to India and praised the innovative decisions paving the way for a more sustainable and brighter future.

“Here where the Temple of Sun was built 1,000 years ago, there is a new Temple of Sun. It’s based on solar energy,” said Antonio. He also stressed the importance of solar energy because it “transforms the lives of the people of this village, makes it more healthy, gives them more prosperity, but at the same time, contributes to rescue our planet from climate change that is still riding without control.”

Such a project also provides hope for having more such initiatives. It also illustrates that such an ambitious goal is doable with the right government funding and help from the community.