Punjab has scripted a success story on the solar energy front with projects being undertaken for generating solar power to the tune of 1,550 MW with an investment of Rs 12,000 crore. While one-third of 1,550 MW is being generated, the rest will be commissioned in the next six months to register an increase of 172 times from 9 MW in just three years, setting a new national benchmark.
Announcing this on Tuesday, Punjab New and Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said, “In 2012, we had 9 MW of solar projects involving an investment of Rs 70 crore. In just three years, we have allotted 1,550 MW of solar power projects with an investment of Rs 12,000 crore, creating employment avenues for 10,000 youths.” No other State in the country can achieve such a level of growth in such a short time, he added.
The Minister said the most interesting part of the solar power policy of Punjab was that farmers having land holdings of four acres and multinational companies, including Adanis, Wellspun, Essel and Azure, were equal partners in the solar revolution being ushered in by the tiny State having just two per cent of the geographical area of the country.
He said, “To make the policy inclusive and rural based, a solar policy for farmers has been made. This was welcomed by small farmers having land holdings on the borders or in the unproductive areas of Malwa, besides marshy land of Mand and waterlogged areas of Malwa and Majha.”
Majithia said that farmers owning such land holdings were suffering due to its non- productivity, meagre contract value and were happy to become partners in a scheme in which they were assured regular income for the next 25 years with 5 per cent annual increase besides assuring his majority partnership in the project. He said that such was the encouraging response to the farmer scheme that against the tendered capacity of 500 MW, the State Government has got commitments of 629 MW.
He said that he would soon hold an interactive seminar with budding farmer investors to guide them to opt for right equipment and right technology and to sail them through teething troubles of project management.
He said that he was happy that enterprising farmers of Punjab have opted for a novel way of diversification that would be copied by farmers of other States.
He congratulated the team led by Anirudh Tewari, Principal Secretary, NRE and CEO, PEDA Amarpal Singh for ensuring transparent and investors-friendly bidding process.
Highlighting the keen interest of NRIs in solar energy projects, he said that NRIs have made Rs 655 crore investment for 91MW whereas foreign investors have invested Rs 562 crore for 79MW projects. Similarly investment of Rs. 687 crore was made in border districts area 97MW solar power plants.
Highlighting the incentives under the State policy he said that policy includes no registration fee stamp duty on purchase/lease of land, exemption from CLU pollution clearance, state entry tax, Vat and property tax besides having 25 years bankable PPA with PSPCL having A+ rating.