SRINAGAR, Sep 12: Over two years have passed since the government directed district development commissioners to identify land for solar power plants but no initiative has been taken so far.
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 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.
An official of the Power Development Department said that state had decided to explore the solar power sector in view of “huge burden” of the power purchase cost on the state exchequer.
However, no exercise has been carried out so far, source said.
“JK has a huge potential of solar power but no measures are being taken to explore it,” the official told news agency Kashmir Indepth News Service (KINS).
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 has 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 Mega Watts 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 but the state government has failed to bear positive results from these programmes to make the state self-sufficient in power generation,” the official said.
He said that state government is spending huge amount of money on power purchases despite having estimated 20,000 megawatts hydro power potential, of which around 3000 megawatts are being generated.