Soren May Unveil New Jharkhand Solar Policy On July 5

Highlights :

  • Jharkhand’s stop start efforts to get solar going need a real push, and the latest policy plans leave one hopeful.

An ambitious new solar policy is going to be unveiled by Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren on July 5 to increase clean energy capacity from 45 MW to 4,000 megawatts in the next five years and attract the investors. The Jharkhand Solar Policy, 2022 will encourage residential rooftop solar panels in cities besides a better enabling environment for larger plants. On the table is a possible a subsidy of up to 80 per cent of the total installation cost will be given to people with an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh. This will be a combination of the

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“The new policy is progressive and investor-friendly. Land rules have been simplified and several other projects such as solar floating projects and canal top solar projects have been introduced to the new policy,” according to an official.

Previous attempts by the state government in 2015, 2020 and 2018 failed to make much difference to the expected investment either because of land dispute or incentive issues. Learning lessons, Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) has partnered this time with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) , a not-for-profit policy research institute, for drafting the new policy targeting the generation of 4,000 MW of solar energy in the next five years.

The policy has laid down three broad project categories – utility-scale solar, distributed solar and off-grid solar – with different target generations. The policy envisions solar plants to be installed on government, private lands and water bodies including dams and canals. The state is endowed with about 31 reservoirs with surface area of 354 sq km and potential of 1160 MW. So the deployment of 400 MW of solar installations on canal tops is a logical decision.

There is a proposal to create a land bank under the policy to prevent any dispute over land acquisition from snowballing into a major policy paralysis. The first policy in 2018 had come unstuck largely because of land disputes over acquisition by the private parties. The new policy also sets a target of making about 1000 model solar villages to ensure the last mile delivery. The unique topography ensures Jharkhand 300 days of clear sun with high solar insolation.

Another lesson learnt from previous failures is to incentivise and therefore the new policy has a proposal for 60% subsidy inclusive of central subsidy for installation of up to 3kW power plant and an 80 per cent subsidy for installation of 3kW to 10kW plants. There is another provision for up to 60 per cent subsidy under solar for livelihood projects under which the poor can make use of solar-powered appliances like solar dryers for farm produce, solar-powered cold storage, solar desalination, solar charkha and others. All statutory clearances and approvals will be provided to the solar power project developers through this single window facility in a time-bound manner within 60 days.

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