Himachal pushes for gaining momentum of solar power implementation in rural areas
The Himachal government has launched a comprehensive programme to solve the power problem in far flung areas. While electricity problems in remote areas have been solved through hydel power generation, use of solar power has been encouraged in other parts of the state, which has also reduced electricity bills.
After the constitution of Himurja in the state, the department has installed 89 small hydro units of 331.25 MW, which are of up to 5 MW. These small hydro units are contributing significantly in solving power problems faced by people.
Officials said small hydro units of about 82.7 MW in Chamba district, 98.65 MW in Kangra district, 25.9 MW in Kinnaur district, 60 MW in Kullu district, 10.50 MW in Mandi district, 39 MW in Shimla district and 12 MW in Sirmaur district have been installed.
They said that Himurja has installed 41 advanced gharats (grinder), 878 advanced chulhas and 17 wind solar hybrid systems at various places in the state. Besides, 1,64,803 street lights, 69,935 lanterns, 27,713 domestic lights, off grid solar power plant of 3,152.45 KW, grid connected solar rooftop power plant of 14,425.54 KW and 20,24,000 solar water heating systems have been made available to the public by Himurja.
To ensure electricity supply, the state government has set up one kilowatt of grid solar power plants free of cost in 34 houses of Kunnu village and 40 houses of Charang village in Kinnaur district. Also, 250 watt off-grid solar power plants have been set up in the houses of 1,000 BPL families in Pangi sub-division of Chamba district to prevent problems due to breakdown.
Pangi area of Chamba district is located at an altitude of 7,000 to 11,000 feet, about 461 km from Shimla. The state government has made a provision of Rs 3.83 crore in the budget to set up off-grid solar power plants in the area for people living below poverty line.
Pangi resident Ashwini Kumar said the area is covered with snow for about five-six months, due to which people face electricity problems. With the state government setting up solar power plants through Himurja, electricity problems have been resolved, he said.
Killar residents Neek Ram and Subhash Singh said they had electricity for only one or two hours during the winter, due to which school children had to face a lot of difficulty in studying. Such problems will be solved now, they said.
Grid connected solar power plants have also been set up in Shimla. These solar power plants have been installed on the roofs of about 66 government offices in the city, which has reduced electricity bills in government offices. Apart from this, grid connected projects of 23.25 MW have been set up on the ground, which has provided employment to youth of Himachal.
The National-level integrated rural energy programme was launched in 1981 by the Planning Commission of Government of India to solve the energy problems in rural areas. The programme was started in Himachal Pradesh by the end of the sixth five-year plan.