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Gujarat planning rooftop solar power policy for households: Modi

According to reports, Gujarat, which is bathed in the sun’s rays for most part of the year, is considering coming up with a “rooftop” solar power plant policy to enable the people to produce their own electricity and earn money by selling surplus power to the grid, the Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, said here on Thursday.

Gandhinagar, being developed as India’s first model solar city, already has solar rooftop systems ranging from 1 kilowatt (kW) to 150 kW at more than 150 locations, aggregating to a capacity of 1.39 MW. These cover a total of two acres of roof-top area, providing 1 per cent of the total energy consumption in the State capital. Also, the new building of the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) is completely powered by solar energy.

Recently, the State Government floated a 5 MW rooftop programme on the PPP model in the capital, which is now being extended to five more cities and towns.

After dedicating to the nation an ambitious 605 MW solar power project spread across 10 districts, he said the policy would make the people self-reliant in power generation. Also, this would help them rent out their roofs for such plants and earn extra income to improve their living standards. The solar project has created an additional 30,000 jobs in the State.

The Gujarat Solar Park, set up with an investment of nearly Rs 9,000 crore on a 2,669 acre plot of wasteland in village Charanka in Patan district, is the largest part of the State’s power project with 214 MW of operational capacity, developed at a single location by private companies. The overall capacity of the Solar Park, when it expands to 5,000 acres, would be 500 MW, making it the largest solar farm in Asia.

The entire solar power project would produce 30 lakh units of clean energy daily, capable of electrifying 10 lakh households, and save 10 lakh tonnes equivalent of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

He said technology has reduced the cost of solar power production from Rs 15 to Rs 8.5 per unit in the last few years, making it affordable and on a par with gas-based power. Between 2001 and 2012, Gujarat increased its installed and under-development power generation capacity from 7,000 MW to 18,000 MW.

The US Consul-General in India, Mr Peter Haas, said his country had committed $500 million to the State for development of renewable sources of energy.

The State-promoted Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd (GPCL), nodal agency for implementation of the Solar Park, has invested Rs 300 crore in creating infrastructure while Gujarat Energy Transmission Corporation Ltd (GETCO) has invested Rs 650 crore on an evacuation and transmission network, for which The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended a loan of Rs 500 crore to GETCO. For the proposed second Solar Park in the State, ADB would provide loan of $500 million.

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