Published on March 10th, 2014 | by Mridul Chadha4
India To Add 7,500 MW Solar Power Capacity In Jammu & Kashmir
In what is one of the most ambitious plans to expand solar power capacity in India, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy recently announced that it would set up 7,500 MW of solar power capacity in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The ministry, currently headed by the state’s former chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, has signed an agreement with the state government to set up 5,000 MW capacity in Ladakh and 2,500 MW capacity in Kargil.
Jammu and Kashmir receives some of the highest solar radiation in the country. The state, however, faces a number of issues that have inhibited large-scale expansion of power generation sources. Lack of government focus on infrastructure expansion, due to decades-long insurgency, remote population centres, and mountainous terrain.
Ladakh, one of the most remote places in the country, is excessively dependent on fuel imports from other states. Solar power thus presents a tremendous opportunity for the region to attain energy independence and earn significant revenue by exporting electricity to large demand centres in North India.
Currently, Jammu and Kashmir does not enjoy a respectable standing in terms of installed renewable energy capacity. According to a recent report, the state has only 308 kW of solar power capacity installed. This is in comparison to over 2,200 MW solar power capacity installed across the country till January 2014. The state has managed to utilise only 10% of the small hydro power potential available and has no wind energy projects installed.
India plans to source 3% of it total electricity consumption from solar energy by 2022 and has been taking notable steps to increase solar power capacity. The Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has announced plans to set up a number of multi-developer solar parks across the country. Additionally, several states have announced ambitious solar power policies to attract investment and boost self-sufficiency in power generation.