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JK yet to identify land for solar power plants

Srinagar, Aug 25: Despite Jammu and Kashmir having huge potential of solar energy, the government is yet to identify land for solar power plants.
JK has second highest potential of solar power in India. As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), J&K has a solar power potential of 111.05 GWp, the second highest in India after Rajasthan, which has the potential of 142 GWp.
“Projects with minimum 10-MW capacity of the solar power projects are economically viable for which 400 kanal of land having full sunshine is required,” an official document reads.
An official of the Power Development Department said the state had decided to explore the solar power sector in view of “huge burden” of the power purchase cost on the state exchequer.
However, no exercise has been carried out so far, the official said.
“JK has a huge potential of solar power, but no measures are being taken to explore it,” the official said.
Against 1,11,000 megawatts of solar-energy potential in Jammu and Kashmir, the state has harnessed only 6.86 MW of solar power last year, which is 0.006 percent of the state’s renewable energy generation potential.
The Union Renewable Energy Ministry report highlights that other states, which have far less potential as compared to Jammu and Kashmir have been able to generate several hundreds of million units of electricity from solar energy.
The report reads that states like Bihar has generated 142.5 MW and Chattisgarh solar power generation stands at 177.97 MW, which is much higher than JK.
Keeping in view solar energy potential particularly in the Ladakh region, some years back the union government had sanctioned two projects-one each for Leh and Kargil to generate 7500 Mega Watts of solar power and even a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Union Ministry of new and renewable energy and science and technology ministry of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Centre had initiated solar power plant programmes to provide solar power in far-flung areas but the state government has failed to bear positive results from these programmes to make the state self-sufficient in power generation,” the official said.
Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan, said he would seek report from the authorities concerned and then look into the matter.