Ranchi: Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren is set to unveil the Solar Energy Policy-2022 on Tuesday with a view to helping the State generate 4,000 megawatt (MW) clean energy in the next five years. Along with it, the CM will also launch the Kisan Solar Water Pump Set Scheme and lay the foundation of 600 kilowatt capacity solar power plants at Dhanbad and Dumka.
Experts, however, fear that it would be a tough target to achieve the capacity of 4,00MW through solar energy by 2027, given the kind of resources and expertise the State’s nodal agency for renewable energy, Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA), currently has.
“In 2015, JREDA, had prepared the Jharkhand Rooftop Policy and proposed to generate about 2800MW power from renewable sources. But it miserably failed even get 100MW green energy. Faced with acute shortage of technical expertise and resources, the State’s Energy Department has this time relied on a non-government organisation, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), to prepare the policy for it and guide it to achieve the target,” said a former project director of JREDA.
Jharkhand Govt banks on NGO to frame new Solar Policy
A senior officer of the Energy Department claimed that the Jharkhand Solar Policy prepared for JREDA by CEEW was attractive and pragmatic in approach. “The policy drafted by CEEW, which was approved by the State Cabinet six months ago, would be able to draw huge investments once Chief Minister Hemant Soren formally launches it on July 5. To make both event and policy success, the CEEW has also assured to bring in technical experts and investments in the state,” said the officer.
According to the Energy Department officer, the State Government is taking important steps to imbibe prosperity amongst the farmers as well as to illuminate the state. Jharkhand ranks 5th across the nation in installing solar pump sets. Giridih to be recognised as a Solar city, thanks to the initiatives of JREDA.
A detailed and well delineated policy is being rolled out in the pursuit of development of solar energy in the State through several schemes like solar park, canal top solar, floating solar etc. In a very integrated manner the Government has set a target of installing about 4000 MW of solar power in the state in the next 5 years. Under the ambit of this policy a target of installation of about 3000 MW on utility scale, 720 MW under the distributed solar and 280 MW under off-grid solar plants has been fixed.
Jharkhand aims for an influx of investors
Officials said that the new policy provisions have been made in such a way to encourage private investors by conceptualising a single window system, payment security mechanisms, land arrangements through land banks. Under the policy steps such as a dedicated solar power cell, statutory approval within a maximum of 60 days, setting up of 1000 solar villages, schemes to encourage economically backward villagers, and cross subsidy will be implemented to encourage the adoption of solar energy.
Further, a proposal has been made for exemption from third party and captive use, indexation up to 25 years at the rate of 1% and for exemption in the electricity bill. The policy also guarantees 100% exemption of State Goods and Services Tax (SGST) for the next 5 years. Constitution of two high-level committees will be done for the monitoring of the work to be done as per the set targets.
Jharkhand ranks 5th in pump set distribution
The state has achieved a milestone by installing 6717 solar pump sets in phase-I, out of which 6500 solar pump sets have been installed across the state from 2020 to 2022. Jharkhand ranks 5th across the entire country in installing solar pump sets, which serve as alternative means of irrigation to ease the issues faced by the farmers of the state.
A web portal will be inaugurated under the Kisan Solar Water Pumpset Scheme which will simplify the process of distribution and installation of solar pumps for farmers. The portal will also aid in providing for the maintenance of the pumps for the next 5 years. These processes will be made transparent through efficient and regular data collection, its analysis and online monitoring.
Further, the farmers will be able to track the status of their online application for the solar pump sets. It should be noted that 96 percent subsidy is being provided to the farmers for off-grid pump sets. In the second phase, the state government has an ambitious target of installing 10,000 solar pumpsets.