Farmers wanting to set up solar plants in for a shock

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The state’s plan of encouraging farmers to set up solar power plants in their fields has run into rough weather after the Centre slashed the share of solar power in the state’s total consumption from 10.5 per cent to 8 per cent.The worst sufferers are around 280 farmers who have already paid heavy amounts as processing fees to set up plants. They are now facing uncertainty about the fate of their venture.Notified on January 28, the revised policy has put Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and the government in a position where the power utility can’t buy power from the yet-to-be-commissioned plants at prices quoted by their owners.Such units would sell power at rates between Rs6.25 and Rs6.99 per unit, which is double the average rates the PSPCL purchases power from other sources.The government is thus left with two options – either to compensate the PSPCL the extra amount that the power utility will pay to solar units or simply put off the scheme.The agitated farmers today landed at the headquarters of the Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) – the executing agency – demanding justification behind the delay in execution of agreement between them and PEDA.

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