To tackle bulging power demand, govt pins hope on solar energy

SRINAGAR, NOV 15: In response to the power crisis in Jammu and Kashmir and the escalating costs of generating hydropower, the government is charting a new course towards clean solar energy. The Union Territory plans to harness 500 Megawatts of solar energy by 2030 under a comprehensive clean energy mission.

With the demand for power on the rise, the Jammu and Kashmir administration is exploring various alternatives, including solar, wind, and small hydroelectricity, to meet the energy needs of the region. The current focus is on tapping into renewable energy sources to supplement energy requirements and achieve self-reliance in the energy sector.

Official documents reveal that the government has set a target to exploit 500 MW of solar energy by 2030 through the establishment of solar projects, including rooftop solar projects. The initiative aims to supplement the energy demand of the Union Territory and encourage self-consumption by prospective consumers to reduce grid imports.

The documents also outline a broader objective, stating that the government aims to generate 1500 MW of solar energy in the union territory by 2047. Through the initiation of new projects, Jammu and Kashmir plans to generate 1000 MW of solar energy by 2040.

As of now, the administration has successfully installed a cumulative capacity of 25 MW of grid-connected rooftop solar power plants in the Union Territory. Additionally, 50,000 solar streetlights and 500 solar pumps have been deployed, along with 170,000 solar home systems and 500 domestic bio-gas plants.

The government envisions extending solar power projects to commercial sectors with significant energy demands. The objective is to install grid-connected rooftop solar power plants across various sectors, including commercial and industrial, thereby reducing reliance on energy imports from the utility grid.

An official from the Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) stated that the agency has already initiated the establishment of solar plants of various capacities under the Rooftop Solar Scheme. The move is aimed at reducing dependency on hydroelectricity.

“The department has been inviting Expression of Interest regarding establishing solar plants. Our main motive is to popularize solar energy in Jammu and Kashmir, which has significant potential to tap into this energy source,” said the official.

Notably, the Energy Statistics India report for 2023 reveals that Jammu and Kashmir possess the second-highest potential for generating renewable energy in the country, accounting for 7.6 percent of the total potential of renewable power in India. The ambitious solar energy initiatives are expected to play a crucial role in addressing the energy needs of the region and promoting sustainability.

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