Lakshadweep, India [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Lakshadweep, an island chain off the Southwest coast of India, is tapping into roughly a full MW of solar photovoltaic (PV) power to avoid costly, polluting diesel fuel shipments that have historically provided power to the islands’ inhabitants and visitors.Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL), the Indian company constructing the projects, says this latest round of PV projects amounts to the largest island electrification project in the Asia Pacific region. A 100 kW solar PV power plant was commissioned at Kalpeni Island, the ninth such solar project commissioned by BHEL in the island chain. With this, the company has added 800 kW of solar electric power generating capacity of the coral islands in the Arabian Sea. BHEL is currently executing its largest ever contract, valued at over Rs.180 million (US$4 million) for six grid-tied PV power plants of 100 kW each and one of 150 kW for the Lakshadweep Administration. Jointly funded by the Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, the Indian government and the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, the project would involve setting up the solar power plants on the islands of Agatti, Amini, Andrott, Chetlat, Kadmat, Kalpeni and Kavaratti. In addition, BHEL is also increasing the size of the existing stand-alone power plants at Bitra and Bangaram islands to 50 kW each. With no native energy sources of any kind, the Lakshadweep island chain has relied entirely on imported diesel fuel. Not only is diesel expensive to import, but it feeds noisy polluting generators, and increases the risk of a spill in the waters surrounding the islands. BHEL previously completed 100 kW grid-tied solar PV projects on the islands of Kiltan and Minicoy Islands, along with stand-along projects in the 10-50 kW size in Lakshadweep. BHEL has been working for over a decade on PV projects for the island chain. With the completion of these projects, the company will have installed approximately a full MW of solar PV on the island chain. BHEL manufactures modules at its electronics division in Bangalore and has supplied solar modules/systems generating nearly 12 MW of power for applications such as street lights, community lights, rural telephone exchanges, unmanned offshore oil platforms, railway signaling, microwave repeater stations, water pumping systems, and petrol pumps. The Company has also exported solar cells and modules to various countries including Germany, Australia and Italy.