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Posted at: Jan 23, 2019, 7:31 AM; last updated: Jan 23, 2019, 2:55 PM (IST)

Haryana way behind Punjab in tapping solar energy

Compared to 906 MW in Punjab, it produces only 148 MW

Vijay C Roy

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, January 22

In 2016 when the BJP-ruled Haryana unveiled Solar Power Policy, it had made lofty claims of setting up projects to generate 4,000 MW, but it is nowhere near the target, courtesy policy paralysis. The total installed capacity of solar power in the state is 148 MW, which is dominated by roof top plants of 97 MW (on residential and commercial buildings) and the rest are ground mounted.

In solar power generation, Haryana is far behind Punjab which has an installed capacity of 906 MW.

“The policy was launched in 2016 but the developers are yet to see the operational guidelines, which is acting as a deterrent. Few of the projects, which were set up after the launch of the policy, have not yet received any benefits from the state government as per the policy. In the absence of operational guidelines, solar power developers are reluctant to invest in the state,” said a project developer on the condition of anonymity.

As a result, the state is not even able to meet solar power purchase obligation. According to Hareda officials, out of 850 million units required to meet solar power obligation during April-September 2018, the state was able to meet only 110 million units, which includes own generation and purchase of renewable power from other states. Each state is required to have a mandatory minimum renewable energy capacity.

The developers said in October 2018, Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (Hareda) came out with operational guidelines but it was again taken back due to unknown reasons. “Now, Haryana Vidyut Prasaran Nigam Limited (HVPNL) has come out with interim guidelines, but the developers are waiting for full operational guidelines before investing in the state, as their investment is already stuck in the state because they purchased the land when the policy was announced in 2016,” said another developer.

As a pre-requisite of the guidelines, the applicants were required to invest in land and infrastructure before getting the final sanction. Due to this these companies had to invest in crores at the preliminary stage. An acre of land for setting of power projects in Haryana costs anywhere between Rs 8 lakh and Rs 15 lakh.

The developers complained that lack of will to implement the Solar Power Policy in toto has restricted the growth of the sector in the state. A senior official in Hareda disclosed that the state government will come out with the operational guidelines soon.

Another impediment in setting up the project is high land cost or lease cost. If a developer takes a land on lease, he has to pay Rs 30,000-45,000 per acre to the farmers annually. Recently, in order to meet its renewable purchase obligation, the Haryana Power Purchase Centre (HPPC) has issued a tender for 300 MW of grid-connected solar projects to be developed in the state.

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