UP to develop 20 solar cities in the next five years
State sets an ambitious target of producing 16,000 mw renewable power by 2026-27; 10,000 mw sought to be produced by utilities and solar parks, 4,000 mw through rooftopsand another 2,000 mw through agriculture solar pumps etc
LUCKNOW Uttar Pradesh’s proposed Solar Energy Policy-2022 seeks to meet an ambitious target of producing 16,000 mw renewable power by 2026-27, among other things, and developing 20 cities comprising 10 lakh households as ‘solar cities’ over the next five years.
The state government has rolled out the draft policy that may get the cabinet’s nod very soon as the current solar policy (notified in 2017) has completed its five-year term.
The 2017 policy had fixed a target of producing 10,000 mw solar power by 2022, but only less than 3,000 mw of the target has been generated. Considering this, the fresh target of producing 16,000 mw in next five years is being seen as too ambitious.
Of the total target, 10,000 mw has been sought to be produced by utilities and solar parks, 4,000 mw through rooftop and another 2,000 mw through agriculture solar pumps etc.
“The targets are ambitious, but all efforts will be made to achieve it because the proposed policy seeks to remove all the bottlenecks that hindered setting up of solar plants and parks in the state,” said Narendra Singh, project director, UPNEDA.
The targets, he added, would be achieved by introducing new mechanism that supports consumers, businesses and developers in the sector.
Under the policy, 20 cities will be developed as ‘solar cities’ covering 10 lakh residential households with solar rooftop installations across the state in five years. The cities selected are Lucknow, Kanpur, Prayagraj, Agra, Varanasi, Ghaziabad, Meerut, Bareilly, Aligarh, Moradabad, Saharanpur, Gorakhpur, Noida, Firozabad, Jhansi, Muzaffarnagar, Mathura, Ayodhya, Azamgarh and Mirzapur.
Net metering facility will be given to residential consumers as per regulations by UP Electricity Regulatory Commission from time to time. Under this facility, they can sell the excess power generated on their house to the area’s distribution company.
The proposed policy says that at least 21,000 un-electrified primary schools across the state, totalling a capacity of 40 mw, will be covered with solar rooftop installations while secondary schools, government colleges, technical institutions and universities will also be equipped with solar rooftops in a phased manner.
Similarly, nagar nigam assets will be solarised using solar rooftops and all the public institutions such as hostels and training institutions, libraries etc will be asked to meet a part of their power requirement through solar power. MSMEs and start-ups will be encouraged for installation of solar rooftops.
Land bank not suitable for agriculture and waste lands will be created by UPNEDA across the state, specifically in Bundelkhand region. The state will promote setting up of off-grid solar systems like solar power plants, solar street lights and solar PV pumps in anganwadi centres, schools etc.
The state, the proposed policy points out, has vast and largely untapped potential and availability of vast barren/un-cultivable unutilised government/private land in Bundelkhand and this has potential to make Uttar Pradesh a highly preferred destination for solar energy at the global level.
The state will also promote setting up of solar cold storages to increase the shelf life of agriculture produce and enhance farmers’ income.
The UPPCL, through its discoms, will purchase solar energy as per the Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) for the price as determined by the regulator.
The proposed policy offers 100% exemption on stamp duty on the land used for setting up solar power plant/solar park anywhere in the state.
“The state will provide government land for development of solar power projects through lease for a period of 30 years .The government land will be given on lease at a rate of ₹15000/acre per year for a period of 30 years,” the policy says.
As further incentives, the state government will also provide capital interest subsidy to the extent of 5% per annum for five years in the form of reimbursement on loan taken for procurement of plant and machinery subject to annual ceiling of 50 lakh. This subsidy will be applicable to utility scale solar power projects with a capacity more than 5mw.
The draft policy points out that growing concern of global warming and climate change requires emphasis on clean and green energy. “The setting up of new thermal plants and even renovation of old coal-fired plants is being discouraged for environmental issues all over the country. In such a situation, UP has to promote solar power to meet its growing electricity demand,” a senior energy department official said.