Distributional justice in solar energy development in India: the case of Charanka solar park

Komali Yenneti, Rosie Day

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31 Citations (Scopus)
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Large scale renewable energy developments, although seen as environmentally good, also have the potential to damage a community’s well-being if the distribution of outcomes of the development, both good and bad, is unfair. Inequality in the distribution of benefits and costs, especially when some sections of a community benefit at the expense of others, can divide communities, damage relationships, and result in conflicts. In recent years, a considerable number of empirical studies examining the controversies over distributional inequalities in renewable energy practices have emerged. However, most have focused on the developed world; there has been little research in the context of the Global South, where large scale and rapid development of solar energy especially is anticipated to contribute to economic development and relieve energy poverty. This paper provides an empirical case study of ‘Charanka Solar Park’ in the Indian state of Gujarat. The objective is to qualitatively analyse the distributional concerns in the implementation of the large scale solar park, developed in a remote rural location. The research illustrates how the benefits of renewable energy development tend to accrue at regional and national level whilst local host communities bear adverse consequences. Distributional inequalities also occurred at the local scale in Charanka, where the upper caste and economically better of sectors of the community were able to take opportunities, while vulnerable pastoralists and small farmers suffered the most from loss of land resources and associated livelihoods. Thus, the uneven distribution of benefits arising from the solar park development reinforced and deepened existing inequalities. The paper concludes by discussing how distributional injustice in such developments might be ameliorated in the future.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Rural Studies
Early online date2 Jun 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Jun 2016


  • Charanka solar park
  • Distributional justice
  • Energy justice
  • India
  • Social justice
  • renewable energy


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