The World bank has rated state’s progress in the use of solar energy as one of the best in all the states, which can be attributed to the user friendly provisions and incentives being offered in the Solar-energy policy of Punjab government, introduced in 2014, Taking a cue, the Union government has now asked other states to follow the Punjab model for giving shape to solar energy policy.
No wonder players like Welspun, Punjloydd, Luminous, Azure, Lanco, Essel, and Sun Pharma, the multinational firms, already have plants in Punjab and several of their likes are now keen to invest in such projects in the state.
According to Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) chief executive officer (CEO) Amarpal Singh, many expatriate and foreign-based companies have shown interest in investing in the sector.
In fact during state government’s Progressive Punjab summit, various firms committed to invest a sum of 3,000 crore in this sector, for which the process has already begun.
Reiterating that Punjab has one of the best solar energy policies in the country, Renewable energy minister Bikram Majithia says that the policy has a back-up of 25-year purchase agreement with the electricity utility with the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL).
Who can set up a solar energy project
Under the new policy one can have his/her own Solar power project, by investing about Rs one lakh, on which the government is providing a subsidy of Rs 15,000. One requires an area of 100 square feet free space over the roof. This can have an output of 1 kilowatt (which can run 20 fluorescent tube-lights or 10 fans). Average household requirement is between 3 to 5 kilowatt-capacity, project. The project has a life span between 25 to 30 years.
Mechanism: It has bi-directional meter which keeps record of power consumed from the grid and contributed to the grid
Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) is the nodal agency for such projects.
At present three types of models are being adopted for solar power generation in state.
1.Captive metering: Under its provisions, plant is set up for personal consumption.
2. Gross metering: The power generated from the plant goes to the grid.
3. Net metering: It’s a blend of captive and gross metering in which power generated is shared accordingly.
The most important aspect of solar energy projects is that they help preserving environment and saving oxygen. For every 1 unit of electricity generated in a thermal-energy plant, 0.82 kg of carbon dioxide is produced.
Status of Solar-power generation in Punjab
2017 —1,000 MW (target)
Rooftop solar projects, Punjab’s future
Going by the current energy needs and growing pollution, rooftop solar projects may soon become a mandatory feature for households in the coming day. So far the state has allocated rooftop projects of 53 MW. An average rooftop solar plant requires 100 sq ft of space.
The biggest Rooftop project
A solar-energy project at the roof top in Radha Soami Satsan Beas with a capacity of 7.5 MW is the single solar-energy project which so far is India’s largest in the rooftop category. There is a proposal to increase its capacity to 31.5 MW, which would make it perhaps the world’s largest rooftop plant. Covering more than 21 acres of the largest congregation space, the project with an investment of about 55 crore is bigger than any project in Italy, Spain, China, France and the US. It has as many as 30,096 solar photovoltaic panels fixed over several asbestos sheets.
Now there is a proposal to add 4.880 megawatts to the capacity from another 13 acres over the same roof, which would further enhance the total generating capacity of project to 12.404 MW.
The project is helping in providing a clean energy to the dera besides adding to its earnings.
“As per the agreement, we have a selling price on which the power is to be given to the state power corporation @ Rs 7.76 per unit for 25 years. We are expecting it to go up further over the period,” a spokesperson of dera said.
The dera management in-principle has decided to go for net metering project after installing a 12-MW solar-energy farm in the next phase.