Srinagar, Sep 11: The government has directed officials to speed up the identification of land to explore the solar power sector in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
The direction comes after KINS reported that despite the government’s directions to the officials to identify land for solar power plants no initiative was taken so far.
Official sources said that the administration has directed all concerned officials to take steps to complete the land identification process to explore the solar power sector.
JK has the second highest potential of solar power in India. As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), J&K has a solar power potential of 111.05 GWp, the second highest in India after Rajasthan, which has the potential of 142 GWp.
In February 2018, the government directed deputy commissioners to identify suitable land for setting up of solar power plants to “diversify the solar power sector” of J&K.
“Projects with a minimum 10 MW capacity of the solar power projects are economically viable for which 400 kanals of land having full sun shine is required,” an official document reads.
However, no much exercise was carried out so far.
Against 111,000 megawatts of solar energy potential of Jammu and Kashmir, the government has harnessed only 6.86 mws of solar power last year, which is 0.006 percent of the state’s renewable energy generation potential.
The Union Renewable Energy ministry report highlights that other states, which have far less potential as compared to Jammu and Kashmir have been able to generate several hundreds of million units of electricity from solar energy.
The report reads that states like Bihar have generated 142.5 mws and Chattisgarh solar power generation stands at 177.97 mws, which is manifold higher than JK.
Keeping in view solar energy potential particularly in Ladakh region, some years back the union government had sanctioned two projects-one each for Leh and Kargil to generate 7500 MegaWatts of solar power and even a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Union Ministry of new and renewable energy and science and technology ministry of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Centre had initiated solar power plant programmes to provide solar power in far-flung areas to make Jammu and Kashmir self-sufficient in power generation,” the official said.
Sources said that the state government is spending a huge amount of money on power purchases despite having estimated 20,000 megawatts hydro power potential, of which around 3000 megawatts are being generated.