Chandigarh, October 24, 2012: The Punjab government has decided to explore the possibility of developing solar power clusters to energise agri-pumps in rural areas besides setting up of solar panels on canals and roof tops of big buildings.
Presiding over a meeting late last night to review the progress of biomass as well as solar power plants in the state, the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal pointed out that the state government was spending a huge amount on providing free power for agri-pumps in the state. He said that there was a large scope for development of solar power clusters in the rural areas to provide power for agri-pumps directly thereby cutting the subsidy and further investing the saved money for production of clean energy. He said that by producing 1000 MW clean power Punjab can earn lot of Carbon Credits besides saving on subsidy.
He asked the Non-Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia to get a thorough study including technical as well as financial viability of the proposed solar power clusters done.
Majithia informed the Deputy Chief Minister that Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) was considering creating land pools in Kandi as well as Kalanaur area of Gurdaspur district to attract investment for setting up of big solar power plants.
Setting targets of minimum 500 MW power, each in biomass as well as solar power sectors in next 2 years, the Deputy Chief Minister categorically said that PEDA should analyze the reasons for slow implementation of such power plants and directed to remove the bottle necks, if any. He pointed out that the possibility of using solid waste should also be explored as in coming times the demand for agri-residue was set to be risen.
Assuring full cooperation from the state government, Badal said that it was high time for the state to replicate the success solar power stories of Gujarat and Rajasthan in the state. He also directed for the cancellation of permissions to those companies who were dilly dallying their projects on one and another pretext. He underlined the need to encourage both new entrepreneurs and big players by giving permission to them up to 2 MW and up to 25 MW respectively. He said that for the new ventures in solar power the carbon credits aspect should also be taken into consideration.
Punjab Non-Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia informed that PEDA would soon invite bids for 400 MW solar power plants with provision both for new entrants as well as the big investors. He said that the process for identifying the canals and roof tops for setting up of solar panels has already begun. He said that the state has potential of more than 50 MW solar power productions from roof tops while the canals have the potential of setting up of solar panels for more than 500 MW solar power. He said that he would soon convene the meetings of biomass as well as solar power operators to give final touches to the new proposals and expressed confidence that soon the state would emerge on both the solar power and biomass power fronts in the country.
Prominent amongst other who attended the meeting included C. Roul, Principal Secretary Science & Technology, Ms. Bhavna Garg, Special Secretary Science & Technology and Mr. T.P.S Sidhu, CEO, PEDA.