Chandigarh: The Punjab government has decided to explore the possibility of developing solar power clusters to energise agricultural pumps in rural areas, which can help the state to bring down the power subsidy cost, an official said.
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday said that "there is a large scope for developing solar power clusters in rural areas to provide power to agricultural pumps directly thereby cutting the subsidy and further investing the saved money to produce clean energy".
Badal asked the state Non-Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia to get a study including technical as well as financial viability of the proposed solar power clusters done.
"Under this proposed initiative, a cluster of tubwells will be identified and after identifying the power requirement of these tubwells, solar power panel with one time investment can be installed to supply power to agricultural pumps," state-owned Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) Chief Executive Officer T P S Sidhu said.
The Punjab government supplies free power to farmers and the subsidy burden arising out of free power is expected to grow to Rs 5,700 crore this fiscal.
Majithia informed the Deputy Chief Minister that PEDA was considering a proposal to create land pools in Kandi as well as Kalanaur area of Gurdaspur district to attract investment for setting up of big solar power plants.
Badal also asked PEDA to set a target to generate 500 MW of power, each in biomass as well as solar power sectors in next two years. He also asked PEDA to analyse reasons for slow implementation of setting up such power plants and directed to remove the bottlenecks.