The Punjab government is shortly launching a unique ‘farm level solar power generation scheme’ to offer land owing farmers solar power projects ranging 1 MW to 2.5 MW , with multiple purposes of generating Clean &Green Energy, meeting the challenge of land scarcity as well as developing the entrepreneurial skill amongst them thereby enhancing their income. The initial target is being fixed at generation of 500 MW power under this scheme.
Disclosing this here today, Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia, New & Renewable Energy Minister said that this scheme has been specially designed to meet the growing challenges of land scarcity, high cost of land, alarming ground water table situation and depleting soil health. He said that there was no doubt in admitting that the agricultural production in state has reached a saturation point and it becomes imperative for us to explore more and more avenues for enhancing the income of farm sector. “The time has come to develop entrepreneurial skills amongst farmers which will further give them confidence for setting up of agro-industries/food processing industries etc”, the Minister added.
Briefly outlining the proposed new scheme, the Minister said that once the scheme launched any land owning farmer having at least five acres of land or small farmers joining hands to form a group can apply jointly. After allocation the farmer can also form a Company/ Firm/ Society with his share retaining minimum 51% of the project. PEDA will guide farmers to set up a company, documentation, power purchase agreement with PSPCL besides providing required technical support. Besides this, IREDA and BANKS would also be roped in to offer finance to the farmers for the projects. The farmers will be given generic tariff as notified by regulator.
The Minister further said that farmers would be free to fix their solar panels in such a design that they could use their land for agricultural purposes also i.e cultivation of vegetables, flowers, herbal bushes, turmeric, mushrooms and other crops suitable for cultivation in shade.
Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia said that the farmers can also use power for their domestic or agricultural requirements and he will be paid on monthly basis for the power he contribute in power sub-station.
He said that out of total 500 MW target 100 MW projects would be reserved for SC/ST and women farmers.He expressed confidence that this initiative has the potential to go a long way in changing the fortunes of farming sector as it would meet the peak load requirements of farmers. He said that 1 MW project has the capacity to run 50 agri-pumps of 10 HP for eight hours that too during peak load. Smooth supply of power to agri-pumps from their nearest grid could also result in reducing transmission & distribution losses. Areas where these projects are set up supply of power to the agriculture feeders will be during daytime thereby sparing the farmers form night time scheduling of power. Above all the presence of solar projects at farm level in each nook and corner of the state would have demonstration effect of use of Clean & Green energy and environmental protection.