Punjab New and Renewable Energy minister Bikram Singh Majithia today announced the State government was all set to introduce Punjab Energy Development Authority (PEDA) approved land lease policy for farmers for setting up of renewable energy projects in its endeavor to provide clean and green energy solutions. Presiding over a function after inaugurating a 4 MW solar power plant here, Mr. Majithia said under this scheme PEDA would safeguard the interests of farmers and ensure they get more lease value for their land as compared to market rates with yearly increment of 6 percent. “The project envisages creating farmer entrepreneurs as well as supplementing income sources of the farming community,” he said. As per the scheme, PEDA will facilitate setting up of projects related to renewable sources of energy on farmer-owned land wherein private investors will take the land on lease from farmers for a period of 25 years. He said PEDA would also allow farmers to set up solar plants of a minimum capacity of 1 mw and maximum of 2.5 mw. He said farmers had already evinced keen interest in this scheme and applications had been received to set up projects in 2,000 acres of land mainly in Bathinda and Mansa districts.
Disclosing the State’s plans to develop renewable energy resources, Majithia said he had set a target of increasing the percentage of renewable energy in the total energy generated in the State to 15 per cent. “We have set targets to develop 5400 mw total non-conventional power capacity by the year 2022 with the generation of 300 mw from biomass, 680 mw from co-generation power, 4200 mw from solar, 200 mw from hydel and 20 mw by converting waste to energy”.
Describing Bathinda-Mansa area as a future hub of clean and green solar energy, Mr. Majithia said the 4 mw solar power plant inaugurated today was spread over 19.4 acres of land. Constructed with an investment of Rs 35 crore by an Israel based company, and it would produce 14000 to 18000 units of power daily. This is the fourth such solar power plant in Bathinda district.Giving details of initiatives taken by Punjab government to tap solar power, Mr. Majithia said in the first phase 250 mw solar power projects worth 1700 crore were allocated, 24 Projects of 184 MW worth Rs. 1300 Cr were commissioned and 4 projects of 38 mw were under implementation.
He said against latest tender of 250 mw Solar power Phase-II, bids for 389 MW were received and 24 Projects of 229 MW worth Rs. 1600 crore were allocated. He said that PEDA would soon also come out with a Farmers Solar Power Generation scheme of 500 mw.Majithia disclosed that India’s largest rooftop plant of 7.50 MW at Beas, Amritsar would be expanded to 31.5 MW which would make it the world’s largest rooftop PV plant. He said roof top plants with a capacity to generate 100 mw were being set up on government buildings under the IPDS programme of Ministry of Power and another 120 mw capacity had been identified on roof tops of ware houses in the State.
Majithia said due to these initiatives, the Punjab government had been awarded by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energyfor being one of the best performing States as far as capacity addition was concerned. He said PEDA had also been declared one of the best performing State nodal agencies under the energy conservation programme during 2012 & 2013 by the Union Ministry of Power. Appreciating the investment friendly atmosphere of Punjab, Mr. Noam Ben-Ozer, CEO and Co-founder of Focal energy said easy access to Minister Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia and his pro-development approach had facilitated quick launch and completion of the company’s project in Punjab. He also praised the officials of PEDA for their supporting role. Giving information about technique used in this project, he said four German made inverters had been installed in the plant to convert direct current into alternate current and connect it with the grid.
Meanwhile terming AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s visit to Punjab as a mere eye-wash, Mr Majithia said the junior Gandhi was just back from vacation and had woken up to the issue suddenly even while he did not react when farmers in the State suffered huge losses due to untimely rain and hail storms.
He said the drama enacted in mandis of Punjab yesterday with both prominent factions in the Punjab Congress vying with each other to catch his attention and humiliate each other was an indication of the state of the Congress party in Punjab. He echoed the demand of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal that farmers should be given compensation for the losses suffered by them due to natural calamities recently. Talwandi Sabo legisalator Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu, PEDA chief executive officer Dr Amarpal Singh, PEDA Direcrtor Mr Balour Singh, Assisatant Media Advisor to Deputy CM Mr. Harjinder Singh Sidhu and SDM Bathinda Mr Damanjit Singh Maan and other dignitaries were also present on the occasion.