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Posted at: Jul 24, 2015, 1:02 AM; last updated: Jul 24, 2015, 12:42 AM (IST)GO SOLAR PUNJAB SUMMIT

State to generate 2,000 MW solar power

On the sidelines

  • Bikram Majithia, in an attempt to tell the gathering of his enthusiasm in getting the project started, had the gathering in splits. He said one of the project developers was undergoing a nasty divorce. “But I told him, don’t sacrifice this project because of your failing marriage. Luckily for me, the project has been commissioned and he (the developer) has got the divorce,” he said
  • Principal Secretary Industries and CEO of Invest Punjab, Anirudh Tewari, was definitely the man of the moment, with both Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and Majithia showering praises on him for keeping the solar mission on track
  • Majithia sought a loan of Rs 200 crore from IREDA chairman KS Popli, who said he was expecting a request for a much bigger loan amount. Majithia was quick to reply, “You have spent two hours here and have to give us Rs 200 crore loan. Imagine if you were to travel five hours with me, I would have forced you to give us a Rs 5,000 crore loan”
  • Sukhbir told the gathering that "Solar Sardars" were responsible for the solar revolution in Punjab. Referring to Bikram Singh Majithia; KS Popli, MD of IREDA; Upkar Singh Sandhu, chairman of Punjab Energy Development Agency; and two other Punjabis - Anirudh Tewari and Tarun Kapur, joint secretary in the Ministry of Renewable Energy, Badal said that the "sardars" of Punjab were taking the country forward in green energy
State to generate 2,000 MW solar power

Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal (R) and Bikram Singh Majithia, New & Renewable Energy Minister, at the “Go Solar Punjab” summit in Chandigarh on Thursday. Tribune photo: Manoj Mahajan

Ruchika M Khanna

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 23

Punjab got a thumbs-up from solar power project developers, including representatives of a French solar company, for emerging into a major solar power generating state. Buoyed by industry response, the state is now looking at generating 2,000 mega watt of solar power by 2016-17.

The Go Solar Punjab summit got off to a good start today, with top representatives of major solar power companies attending the event. Anuj Punj from Punj Llyod Infrastructure, Rajkumar Roy from Lanco Solar, Gaurav Sood, MD of French company Solairedirect, SS Chadha from Radha Soami Satsang Beas (which has set up the largest rooftop solar plant), Preet Sandhu from Azure Power, TR Kishore Nayar from Welspun and KS Popli, MD of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), were amongst the solar industry big wigs to have graced the occasion.

With Punjab having successfully taken its solar power generation from 9 MW in 2012 to 210 MW now and targeting to reach 541 MW by March 2016, the industry big wigs who had gathered here, showered praises on the state government’s policy for clearing projects and acting proactively to provide land for setting up the solar power projects. The developers said that their projects had been cleared within minimum possible time and praised the transparency in the working of the Investment Promotion Department.

Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today announced Punjab would encourage farmers to establish mini solar plants on their own land, while he announced that the state government was open to subsidising the installation of solar plants for fuelling the 1.25 lakh tube wells – which have just been given a go ahead by National Green Tribunal. “We can divert money being given to PSPCL as subsidy for free power for agricultural operations for installation of these pumps. This will reduce the burden on thermal power and also reduce the free power subsidy quotient in the long run,” he added.

State’s New and Renewable Energy Minister Bikram Singh Majithia said that the state had been at the forefront of the green revolution, had now taken the lead in establishing a green power revolution in the country. He said it was to the credit of Punjab that it had succeeded in its Go Solar mission despite constraints of land. “We do not have any wastelands or deserts nor are we big states like Rajasthan and MP”.

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