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Land dearth impedes solar power move

GUWAHATI, June 6: The Assam Solar Energy Policy, 2017 sounds big on solar power, but therein lies the problem: barring Goalpara, no other district in the State has been able to provide land for the purpose. Thus, as of now, as an alternative source of power, solar projects continue to be a non-starter in the State.

The State Power Department has a target of generating 590 MW of solar power till 2019-20, but the target seems to be a far cry as barring Goalpara, no other district of the State could provide land for solar power projects. The APGCL has a standing decision of not taking up any solar power projects below a generation capacity of 15 MW. Private players, however, are ready to take up even smaller projects.

Talking to this reporter, a top official of APGCL said: “A solar power project with a generation capacity of 1 MW needs 15 bighas of land and a project of 15 MW capacity needs 225 bighas. According to reports pouring in from various districts early this year, barring Goalpara district no other district in the State is ready to provide land for the purpose. This has poured cold water on achieving the target of generating 590 MW solar power in the State by 2019-20.”

The official further said that the target of generating 590 MW has a number of components. “The power generation target under grid-connected solar power plant is 465 MW, the break-up being 200 MW for solar park, 200 MW for solar power plants for sale of power to APDCL, 15 MW for solar power plant for sale of power to any entity other than APDCL, six MW for solar power plants under REC mechanism, 15 MW for solar power project under any scheme of the State government, and 29 MW for captive solar power plant. Likewise, the generation target for grid-connected rooftop solar power plant is 110 MW and the generation target for off-grid solar applications is 15 MW,” the official said, and added that all such plants need vast areas of land which is a scarce in the State.
According to the official, on the ongoing 80-MW Amguri Solar PV Project many rounds of talks have been held with Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd and 979 bighas of land have been acquired for it. However, the park is still at the preliminary stage.

The progress of Namrup Solar Park, according to the official, is no different.