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Next big move in Uttar Pradesh, energy from the sun

According to reports, the Uttar Pradesh government has realized the importance of solar energy in the future energy perspective. In January, the Uttar Pradesh Cabinet approved the first-ever solar energy policy of the state. Under this policy, a target of producing 500 mega watts (MW) of electricity through solar energy has been set by March 2017.

While the state government has identified the Bundelkhand region for large scale promotion of solar energy production in the state, other regions of the state are also likely to come forward for setting up solar energy plants. While the Noida administration has made preparations for installing solar power systems at different places in Noida, it is now likely to come up over an area of 2.5 acres near the Shahdara drain along Noida. It is estimated to cost about Rs 10 crores. Initially, the electricity produced from this plant will be used for street lighting purposes.

For the purpose of promoting production of electricity by solar energy, a U.P. renewable energy fund has been created. It is notable that Uttar Pradesh lags behind other states in the country in production of electricity through solar energy. While Gujarat produces 850 MW of electricity through solar energy, followed by Rajasthan at 201 MW, in Uttar Pradesh this figure is a meagre. The first megawatt-capacity solar power plant had become operational in Uttar Pradesh in January in Barabanki, where a 2 MW project was inaugurated by chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Under the State Electricity Act, 2003, the various state-level electricity regulators have specified a renewable purchase obligation. Accordingly, a set percentage of power must come from renewable sources. In case of UP it has to be 5 per cent, of which 0.5 per cent has to be from solar energy.

Recently, THDCIL, a joint venture firm set up by the government of India and the government of Uttar Pradesh, expressed its keenness to enter the solar energy market and the company is reportedly in negotiations with Uttar Pradesh government for the construction of photo-voltaic (PV) plants with a total capacity of 100MW in Indian state.
THDC India Ltd is a mini-Ratna PSU, having its headquarters in Rishikesh ( Uttarakhand).

Although it is a core hydropower company, it is now diversifying into coal and solar power.
Sources in the UP Power Corporation Limited say that while the PCL purchases power at the rate of around Rs 5 per unit, the production cost at a solar plant is about Rs 12 per unit.

Since Uttar Pradesh is is blessed with a good solar irradiation to the tune of 1,800 kilowatt-hour per sqm on an annual average basis which is considered necessary for operating a solar photovoltaic power plant, there are immense possibilities in this sector.

To note, under the State Electricity Act, 2003, the various state-level electricity regulators have specified a renewable purchase obligation. Accordingly, a set percentage of power must come from renewable sources. In case of UP it has to be 5 per cent, of which 0.5 per cent has to be from solar energy.

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