Gujarat's solar energy mission is wonderful, plans to rope in farmers
Gujarat is going to become the first state in the country to launch ‘Agro-Solar policy’ under which farmers will be roped in to tap energy from sun which will also help them earn additional income from power generation companies, according to officials. According to officials in Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI), farmers and power generation companies will be in a win-win situation with generation of solar energy in agricultural fields. GERMI Director Prof T Harinarayana told PTI that the state-run companies will set up Solar Photo Voltaic (SPV) plants in different farms fields and experiments were conducted in different agricultural universities in the state.
“Generation Companies like GIPCL (Gujarat Industries Power Company Limited), GSECL (Gujarat State Electricity Corporation Limited) and GPCL (Gujarat Power Corporation Limited) have set up SPV plants in farm fields on the experimental basis,” Harinarayana said. A senior official of GERMI said farmers are likely to get 30 to 40 per cent share from the profit of power generation companies and the solar photo voltaic plant will be set up on poles so that farmers can also grow their crops.
“Gujarat will soon be the first state in the country to launch Agro-Solar policy under which farmers will lease out their agricultural land for solar energy generation and they will get to share profit from electricity production”. “Farmers will get a supplementary income as revenue will be shared by the power generation companies. Besides, the companies will get good space for electricity generation, so there will be a win-win situation for both the sides”, he added. State Energy Minister and spokesperson of the Gujarat government Saurabh Patel said, “We will declare the policy soon”.
“Farmer are right now using the land for one purpose that is cultivation. If we will put solar energy generation plant, farmers will get extra money. Farmers can cultivate their land and they can rent the land and earn money out of it. Farmers can do both the things”, Harinarayana said. He said the farmers can also utilise solar energy by installing solar water pumps in their field. “The Agricultural universities have some agricultural land on which we had conducted the experiments”, added Harinarayana.
According to a state government official, the SPV plant of five MW each will be set up in farm fields. Gujarat has earlier made a strong pitch in the area of solar energy as the state has Asia’s largest solar power plant built on a 2,000-hectare land in Charanka village in Patan district. In January this year, the first canal-top solar power plant, having capability of 10 MW solar, on Narmada canal in Vadodara was inaugurated by UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon.
The Rs 109.91-crore canal-top solar power plant covers a distance of 5.5 kms. Considering the challenges of climate change, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his chief ministerial stint in the state had announced solar policy in 2009. In 2012, Modi had announced roof-top solar projects in cities of Gujarat, innovating a concept of tapping energy of the sun by installing solar photo-voltaic systems on top of houses.
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