The north Indian state of Punjab has issued a fresh tender for installation of 300 MW of solar power capacity.
The state joins list of several others like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh to issue huge tenders for setting up solar power capacity.
Punjab lies in the west north-west belt of India which receives significantly high solar radiation making the region suitable for large-scale solar power infrastructure development.
Other states laying in the region, Gujarat and Rajasthan, boast over 90% of India’s installed solar capacity. Both the states have been pioneers in development of solar power sector in India.
While the size of the tender issued by Punjab is relatively smaller than those issued by some other states in the recent months. One of the reasons for this is the lack of wasteland in Punjab. It is prominently an agricultural state. States like Gujarat, Rajasthan, and southern states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have vast areas of wasteland where large solar power projects can be installed.
Still, Punjab aims to increase the share of renewable energy capacity to 10% of the total power generation capacity by 2020. To achieve this target, the state plans to add 2,000 MW renewable energy capacity by 2022. Half of this capacity will comprise of solar power.
Due to the lack of wasteland, an expansion in the solar rooftop segment could prove highly beneficial for the state. Punjab suffers from substantial power deficit as demand from the agricultural sector is very high. A rooftop solar power scheme with a feed-in tariff structure would thus reduce this deficit and increase efficiency. Another area of expansion could be the canals and the irrigation system. Gujarat has announced plans to set up solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to cover irrigation canals, such projects also help in reducing the evaporative water loss from the canals.
The views presented in the above article are the author’s personal views only