Punjab claims solar power generation up 172 times in three years

Chandigarh, Nov 24 (IANS) Punjab claims to have set a national benchmark with a 172-fold increase in solar power generation.

“Punjab has scripted a new success story on the solar energy front by recording stupendous increase in green power generation registering an increase of 172 times from 9 MW to 1,550 MW in just three years, setting a new national benchmark,” New and Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said on Tuesday.

“No other state in the country has been able to achieve such a level of growth in such a short time,” Majithia claimed.

He said that in this period, Punjab had recorded “a massive increase in investment from a meagre Rs.70 crore to Rs.12,000 crore, besides creating employment avenues for 10,000 youth”.

“The most interesting part of solar power policy of Punjab is that right from farmers having land holding of just four acres to multinational companies, including Adanis, Wellspun, Essel, Azure etc. are equal partners in the solar revolution by the tiny state having less than 2 percent geographical area of the country,” Majithia said.

He said the solar policy for farmers was welcomed by small farmers having land holdings on the borders or in the unproductive areas of the agricultural state.

“Farmers owning such land holdings were suffering due to its non productivity, meagre contract value and were happy to become partner in a scheme in which they were assured regular income for next 25 years with 5 percent annual increase besides assuring his majority partnership in the project,” the minister said.

Majithia said Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) had shown keen interest in solar energy projects.

“NRIs have made Rs.655 crore investment for 91 MW, whereas foreign investors have invested Rs.562 crore for 79 MW projects,” he said.

An investment of Rs.687 crore has been made in border districts areas for 97 MW solar power plants.

“Incentives under the state government policy include no registration fee and stamp duty on purchase or lease of land, exemption from CLU (change of land use) pollution clearance, state entry tax, VAT and property tax besides having 25 years bankable PPA (power purchase agreement),” he said.

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