Karnataka plans to generate 2,000 MW solar power

Bangalore : Energy-starved Karnataka plans to generate 2,000 megawatt of solar power over the next seven-eight years through public-private partnership, as the state is blessed with about 300 days of good solar radiation in a year, state Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar said here Saturday.

“We have revised the solar energy policy recently to give thrust to renewable energy and encourage even farmers to set up small solar power plants in their fields to produce 1-3 mw of clean energy and sell it to distribution companies (escoms),” Shivakumar told a conference.

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In order to tap the huge potential of solar energy as an alternative to generating power from conventional energy sources like coal, thermal and hydel, the minister said the state government would facilitate financial support to the private sector to set up solar plants on private lands.

“The policy envisages allotting farm lands to investors on rental basis or relaxing norms to purchase farm lands for setting up solar plants by investors,” Shivakumar said in a valedictory address at the three-day Green Summit 2014, organised by the state government in association with the Federation of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce & Industry (FKCCI).

As part of the Jawaharlal Nehru national solar mission, the central government has set an ambitious target of generating 20,000 mw of solar power by 2022 across the country.

“To make the national solar mission a mass movement, our policy encourages people to set up solar panels on rooftops of homes, public buildings, commercial and industrial complexes across the state and supply the surplus power to the state grid,” Shivakumar asserted.

About 330 mw is generated currently through renewable energy sources, including solar, wind and bio-mass across the state.

“With commercial energy consumption growing at six per cent annually, generation or supply has not been keeping pace with the growing demand, resulting in prolonged power cuts in semi-urban and rural areas across the country,” the minister noted.

A research study titled ‘India Renewal Energy Status Report 2014’ was released during the annual summit, outlining the status of renewable energy and future requirements, with analysis, trends and data on wind, solar and bio-mass sources.

About 110 exhibitors, 85 speakers, 250 delegates and 5,000 visitors participated in the summit.