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Karnataka to Unveil New Solar Power Policy Soon

According to reports, the State government is soon expected to announce a new solar power policy which will seek to increase solar power production in the state to 2,000 MW by 2020. The policy, which, is in its final draft stage, will be submitted to the government on Wednesday.

Speaking at a meeting of the ‘Climate Parliamentarians’, Managing Director, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited (KREDL), G V Balaram, said, “We are looking at commissioning around 500 MW of solar power projects every year till 2020. We also want to promote smaller projects of 1-3 MW capacity in which farmers can become equity partners and generate power.”

As part of a pilot project, around 1,500 beneficiaries in Bangalore, Mysore, Hubli, Dharwad and Gulbarga will be provided with both Central and State government subsidies to establish a total of 500 kilowatt (kW) plants.

“The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) provides a 30 per cent subsidy to which the State government will add another 20 per cent. The average cost of generating 1 KW of solar power, with batteries, is `1,90,000. Around 100 sqft of land is needed to generate 1 kW. We expect a normal household requirement to be 3 kW with heating appliances,” he said.

KREDL is currently in the process of calling for tenders to decide the implementing agency for the pilot.

Balaram also said the Union government was considering reintroduction of accelerated depreciation for the wind generation sector.

A long-standing demand of independent wind power producers, accelerated depreciation helps reduce the assessed value of wind generating equipment on the balance sheets of the companies over a shorter period of time than other assets.

“It will mostly be reintroduced in the next financial year or maybe even earlier,” he said.

Karnataka had targeted an addition of 533 MW of renewable energy in 2013-14 out of which 315.79 MW has been added. Another 150 MW of wind power projects will be commissioned in February and March which will help the state reach its target, Balaram said.

The ‘Climate Parliamentarians’ is a global network of lawmakers looking to increase awareness amongst their peers about issues related to climate change and renewable energy.

Inaugurating the function, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said, “We are looking to create awareness at the state level among MLAs. Karnataka is an energy-deficit state, the more we can generate, the better for us,” he said.

Dinesh Gundu Rao suggested that of the MLAs who attended the talk, a core committee could be formed which would take the agenda forward.

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