Karnataka’s Pavagada solar park fails locals, India’s renewable energy goals

The park, one of the world’s largest, has failed to transcend caste and gender barriers in bringing jobs and other economic benefits for the locals.

This story was supported by the Pulitzer Center.

Back in 2015, Muthyallappa Venkatesh and his fellow villagers from Karnataka’s Vollur village received a lucrative offer. They could earn Rs 21,000 per acre every year in exchange for covering their land with solar panels. 

For a long time, Venkatesh had yearned for some kind of relief, working as an agricultural labourer in rich farmers’ lands for much of his life. His three-acre farm barely produced enough to feed his 17-member family amid prolonged spells of drought in the region. By 31, he was already deemed a “Naxalite” by the state, with …


Pragathi Ravi

Pragathi is an independent journalist from India covering climate justice, energy transitions and natural resource management. She has received grants from the Pulitzer Centre, the Earth Journalism Network and the Thomson Reuters Foundation.



Flavia Lopes

Flavia is an environmental journalist based in India. She reports on climate change, biodiversity, energy and other allied subjects. She is currently a German Chancellor Fellow with the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation working on gender and energy transition.