Untapped solar power

TNN Bureau. Updated: 10/17/2022 10:58:43 AM Edit and Opinion

Union Territory of Ladakh, which is considered as solar capital of the country, has drawn a blank in solar power generation as not even a single unit of electricity generated through solar energy since 2018.This is attributed to the lack of seriousness on the part of successive administrations to unblock bottlenecks associated with all major projects envisaged for the region.Similarly, the performance of Jammu and Kashmir, too, has remained dismal on account of generating electricity through solar energy as the UT generated only 11.13 MU (Million Units) during the last more than four years.The erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir has a solar power potential of 111.05 GW, including 60,000 MW (60GW) and it is the second highest in the country after Rajasthan which has the solar energy potential of 142 GW. Ladakh has failed to contribute in the country’s total installed capacity notwithstanding two major projects with potential of generating 7500 MW of solar power (now revised to 10, 000 MW) have already been sanctioned for the region.According to an official document tabled in the Parliament, Ladakh has generated not even a single unit of power through solar energy since 2018 to till June 2022, while an amount of just Rs 12.41 crore was released to the UT during the last financial year ending April this. On the other hand, the performance of J&K has also remained abysmally dismal as only 11.13 MUs including 9.42 MUs generated during the year 2020-21. “Union Ministry of Renewable Energy has released an amount of nearly Rs 64 crore in favour of J&K Under Various Solar Schemes,” the document suggested.Pertinently,the Union government has sanctioned two major projects with the total solar power generation capacity of 7500 Mega Watts for Ladakh region. After deliberations, the Central Government has planned to raise the capacity of this proposed solar park in Ladakh to 10 GW from 7.5 GW announced earlier.The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) had issued a tender for development of 7500 MW Solar PV Projects in Leh and Kargil districts on December 31, 2018. As per the tender documents, implementation time for the project was 48 months from the effective date of Power Purchase Agreement. The projects were proposed because Ladakh, the cold desert of the country, receives the ‘best solar radiations’ in the country.

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