Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

6,000 acres of agri land registered for pvt solar power projects

- HT Correspond­ent letterschd@hindustant­imes.com

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Energy Developmen­t Authority (PEDA) has registered 6,000 acres of agricultur­al land in various districts of the state for setting up major and minor solar power plants with the help of private players.

“After Green Revolution, our focus is green power now as the farmers can get remunerati­ve prices by leasing out their land holdings to multinatio­nal companies and other private investors, including non-resident Indians, exploring solar power generation in Punjab,” Punjab new and renewable energy and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia said during a press conference here on Tuesday.

He said several landowners have either leased out or sold their agricultur­al land to investors involved in solar energy projects as the state government targets 540 megawatt (MW) in the next two years against the present generation of 224 megawatt of renewable energy.

Of the `4,000 crore investment targeted, `1,500 crore has already been invested in 29 such solar projects either functionin­g or nearing completion with the remaining `2,500 crore investment in the pipeline, the minister said.

Many of these investors include non-resident Indians as well, besides big companies such as Acme Solar, Punj Lloyd, Sky Power of Canada and Sun Pharma, he added.

He said several panchayats were being roped in for huge chunks of village lands that could be utilised for setting up of solar units on the basis of 33-year lease agreement with the panchayats.

The state’s renewable energy policy includes exemption of charges for the change of land use (CLU) certificat­e, pollution clearance exemption, exemption of state entry tax on equipment/plant and a 25-year agreement with Punjab State Power Corporatio­n Limited (PSPCL) for the latter to purchase power.

The projects where nonresiden­t Indians have invested included Chhina Bidhi Chand in Tarn Taran district (3MW), Ramadass village in Amritsar district (2MW) and three villages in Fazilka district with a combined capacity of 75MW, he added.

With 224MW of solar power generation, Punjab is gearing up to achieve the 540MW target in two years. BIKRAM MAJITHIA, new and renewable energy minister

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