According to reports, New & Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia on Saturday inaugurated 2.10 MW solar power plant costing Rs. 16.40 crore in border village Chhina Bidhi Chand thereby paving the way for large scale investment in solar energy sector along with fencing on 550 kms long this international border.
Talking to media persons he said the project was being set up by an NRI Ranbir Singh Chhina ( Abundant Energy Private Ltd.).
He said that solar energy was one of the most abundant energy sources in the state, which averages around 300 sunny days per year and now the time had come to take full advantage of that potential to provide better access to clean energy, and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels to promote sustainable economic growth. He said that Punjab farmers who made India self reliant on food grain front were now all set to become entrepreneurs by harnessing solar power from their fields.
He said that keeping in view the ever increasing response to state government’s efforts to promote renewable energy, a new “land on lease” scheme has been launched and in less than two weeks period around 5000 acres of land has been offered by active/passive farmers and NRIs, which would be further given to investors on 30 years lease that too on Rs. 35 to 50 thousands lease per year per acre. He said that he has initiated this scheme after studying the problem being faced by farmers. Similarly, a farm level solar power plants scheme having one to 2.5 MW generation capacity was being launched shortly offering 500 MW such projects, he added.
Briefly outlining the achievements of the State in solar power front, Majithia revealed that in just two years period the solar power generation had been enhanced 25 times as earlier it was 9 MW and now crossed 225 MW. He said that 24 new Projects of 229 MW capacity plus 65 MW rooftop projects with an investment of Rs. 2100 crore were all set to be started soon.
He said that besides world renowned companies NRIs were also coming forward to grab this win-win situation and till date only NRIs had set up 42.30 MW solar power projects with a joint cost of Rs. 244 crore and overall total investment in this sector in last two years was more than Rs. 1500 crore. He expressed confidence that by 2017, the Punjab will touch 1000 MW renewable power generation in state.