Energy Minister D K Shivakumar on Wednesday said the solar park in Pavagad taluk of Tumakuru district will begin to generate 600 MW of power by August.
It will be the first project in India where the government will not be acquiring land, but is entering into a lease agreement with farmers to generate solar energy, he told reporters here.
Shivakumar visited the solar power park project site on Wednesday with MLC V S Ugrappa and MLA Thimmarayappa and interacted with farmers. Five villages in the taluk-Balasamudra, Thirumani, Kyataganacharlu, Valley and Rayacharlu-have been identified to set up the solar park. He said generation of 1,000 MW of electricity will be started by September and by the end of September 2018, another 1,000 MW of power will be supplied.
He said, “We had proposals from Belagavi, Kalaburagi and Raichur where people were ready to give us land at whatever price we quoted. But we have selected Pavagad. The government is also planning to set up industries here and generate employment here so that farmers do not have to go to Bengaluru or any other districts.” He said that the total cost of the project is Rs 10,000 crore and the government is expecting a return of Rs 10,500 crore from it.
Shivakumar said the government is planning to acquire 13,000 acres of land to set up the 2,700 MW solar park, where 2,000 MW will be generated by the state and the Union government and 700 MW by private companies. Discussions have been held with farmers and they have agreed to part with land at a lease rent of Rs 21,000 per acre, with 5% enhancement every year up to 20 years. Later, the farmers can decide on continuing the contract, he said.
He said that the total investment for the project is huge and requested the farmers to cooperate with the government in this regard.
The bundled power (a combination of solar and wind) will be procured by the Energy Department at a cost of Rs 3.30 per unit, while the power suppliers will ensure recovering it from sources at a cost of Rs 4.50 per unit. The power generated will be fed to the Central and the state grid, Shivakumar added.
‘Keep nuts and bolts aside’
Urging the farmers to maintain peace and not stop the solar park work, Energy Minister D K Shivakumar said that he has issued directions to the officials to continue the work.
“You keep the nuts and bolts (agitating farmers and land losers) aside and continue the project,” he said. He explained to the farmers that the reputation and finances of the state government are at stake, if the project is delayed. He said that the whole agriculture sector is facing losses. The farmers should not just depend on this and if they are so attached, they can come to his agricultural land of 100 acres and work free of cost and take all the earnings with them, he added.