Punjab to set up solar power clusters for tubewells

Punjab government has decided to explore the possibility of developing solar power clusters to energise agricultural pumps in rural areas besides setting up of solar panels on canals and roof tops of big buildings to help the state bring down the power subsidy cost.

Punjab government has decided to explore the possibility of developing solar power clusters to energise agricultural pumps in rural areas besides setting up of solar panels on canals and roof tops of big buildings to help the state bring down the power subsidy cost.

Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal on Wednesday said that “there is a large scope for developing solar power clusters in rural areas to provide power to agricultural pumps directly thereby cutting the subsidy and further investing the saved money to produce clean energy”.

Sukhbir asked the Non-Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia to get a study including technical as well as financial viability of the solar power clusters done.

“Under this proposed initiative,a cluster of tubewells and their power requirement will be identified. Based on this,solar power panels with one time investment can be installed to supply it power,” state-owned Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) Chief Executive Officer T P S Sidhu said.

The government supplies free power to farmers and the subsidy burden arising out of free power is expected to grow to Rs 5,700 crore this fiscal.

Majithia informed that PEDA was considering a proposal to create land pools in Kandi as well as Kalanaur area of Gurdaspur district to attract investment for setting up of big solar power plants.

Sukhbir also asked PEDA to set a target to generate 500 MW of power,each in biomass and solar power sectors in next two years. He also asked PEDA to analyse reasons for slow implementation of setting up such plants and directed to remove the bottlenecks.

The Deputy CM said 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 which 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.

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