Punjab to solarise one lakh electric tubewells

Chandigarh, Sep 12 : To ensure optimum use of clean and green energy in the agriculture sector, Punjab government has decided to solarise one lakh existing electric tubewells in the state, Minister for New and Renewable Energy Sources Aman Arora said on Monday. He said the project would save around Rs 200 crore per annum on account of power subsidy, besides going a long way to save the natural resources. "The energy sector is transitioning in an unprecedented way and this revolutionary step will pave a way to ensure cheaper and green energy," said the minister. With the implementation of this project, Punjab will avail four major benefits -- reduce the burden of subsidy on the exchequer, reduce the demand of power supply, reduce input cost on agriculture and save the environment by replacing conventional power with the solar energy, he added. He said Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has already invited e-bids for selection of Solar Power Generators (SPGs) for feeder-level solarisation of 25,000 grid connected agriculture pumps. The government provides free power to 13.88 lakh farmers of the state for their grid connected tubewells for irrigation and bears the expenditure of approximately Rs 7,000 crore as subsidy being paid to the Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL). The minister said a proposal for solarisation of one lakh grid connected electric tubewells had been sent to the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and it has accepted the proposal and allocated the target of 1 lakh pumps to the state. Arora said presently the agriculture power tariff is Rs 5.66 per unit and after solarisation of these one lakh tubewells the rate per unit would be much lower, resulting in saving government's subsidy to the tune of Rs 200 crore annually. The Union government will provide a subsidy of Rs 1.05 crore per MW for setting up of solar power plants for solarisation of the tubewells, said PEDA Chief Executive, Sumeet Jarangal, while adding the scheme will be implemented under RESCO mode through private investment. Solar power plants of capacity around 215 MW will be set up for solarisation of one lakh pumps with an outlay of Rs 1,030 crore. Of which, Rs 804 crore will be generated from private investors, while the Central government as its share will pay Rs 226 crore as subsidy, he added. /IANS


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