Punjab's new and renewable energy minister Bikram Singh Majithia on Monday inked memoranda of understanding (MoUs) worth Rs 13,500 crore for investment in solar projects with US, British and Italian companies, besides the setting up of five bio-ethanol refineries in Punjab, at the first Renewable Energy Global Investors' Meet and Expo here.
The MoUs signed include one for 500-MW ground-based power plants with an investment of Rs 4,000 crore by California-based 8-Minute Energy; 100-MW solar power projects with Italian company Progetika-SRC for Rs 800 crore; 300-MW canal-based solar power plants with an investment of Rs 2,400 crore by Lightsource Renewable Development Ltd from the UK; 200-MW solar power projects with an investment of Rs 1,400 crore by PLG Energy Systems; Rs 4,000 crore waste-to-energy project by OTB Energy, UK; and Rs 900-crore solar and biomass complex by Spray Engineers, Mohali. An agreement for technological development and collaboration between UK-based British Photovoltaic Association and Punjab Energy Development Authority (PEDA) was also signed.
Majithia also finalised an MoU with CVC India Infrastructure for the establishment of five bio-ethanol-based refineries based on paddy straw, Napier grass and cotton stalks, and a plan to commence commercial production by December 2017 for the first bio-refinery at a cost of around Rs 1,200 crore.
Interacting with investors, Majithia appreciated the commitment of Lightsource Renewable Development to come up with appropriate technology for a canal-based solar project, utilising the space available on canals. He said there was a huge potential for canal-based projects as the total canal length in the state ran up to 5,000 km.
He also mooted a proposal to set up floating solar panels on 22,000 acres of the reservoir of the Ranjit Sagar dam. He said this project alone could result in harnessing of 2,000 MW of solar power. Lightsource officials said they had established a floating solar park in England and would undertake a study to replicate it at Ranjit Sagar.
Speaking on the scope of biomass fuel in Punjab, he said in the state alone, 20 million tonnes of agriculture residue was being burnt every year. He also highlighted how a 7.5-MW rooftop solar project had been established at Beas in Punjab.