The Punjab government has decided to explore the possibility of developing solar power clusters to energise agricultural water pumps in rural areas, besides setting up solar panels at canals and rooftops of big buildings. Presiding over a meeting on Tuesday night to review the progress of biomass and solar power plants in the state, deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal pointed out that the state government was spending a huge amount on providing free power for farm tubewells in the state.
Thus, Sukhbir said, there was scope for solar power clusters to cut the farm power subsidy. The money saved could be used for production of clean energy. He asked non-renewable energy minister Bikram Singh Majithia to commission a thorough study of viability of solar power clusters.
Majithia also informed the deputy CM that the 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 big solar power plants.
He 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 the process for identifying the canals and rooftops for setting up of solar panels has already begun. The state has potential of more than 50 MW solar power productions from rooftops, while panels on canals can produce more than 500 MW, according to Majithia.
Setting targets of 500 MW each in biomass and solar power sectors in the next two years, Sukhbir asked PEDA to expedite the implementation of such plants. He also asked officials to replicate the solar power success in Gujarat and Rajasthan, and directed for cancellation of permissions to companies who were delaying projects.