Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Friday inaugurated 16 Solar Power Plants having a joint capacity of 101 MW at a function at Bhagwanpur near Roorkee on Friday on the eve of World Earth Day.
The inauguration was done at the site of the Bhalaswagaj plant in Bhagwanpur, which at 65 MW capacity, is the largest solar power generating facility in the state, which was installed under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission of the Government of India.
“This alternative energy source is not only making our state self-reliant in the power sector, but it also opens up a new avenue of employment. I am happy to learn that Bhagwanpur solar plant is giving employment to more than 1,500 people,” said the chief minister.
As many as 16 developers are involved in solar power generation business in the district, of which eight have jointly been commissioned solar plants in Bhalaswagaj, Bindukhadak and Bhalupur villages in Bhagwanpur block on a model of cooperative business, which are now producing 65 MW.
For installing plants, the eight developers reportedly arranged more than 2,500 bigahs in agglomeration basis from numerous farmers from three villages on lease.
Besides, the developers have involved as many as 500 local farmers directly or indirectly in solar power generation business in Bhagwanpur.
Subhash Chaudhary, managing director of Rays Power Infra Pvt Ltd (RPIPL) — one of the eight developers which has developed the 65 MW solar plant in Bhagwanpur block — said, “We have taken land from farmers on lease contract for 25 years, and we will have to pay them Rs 16,500 per bigah annually as rent, which is more than five times higher than they earn through conventional farming. The project has not only opened an opportunity of business for us, but has also provided handsome earnings to farmers without undergoing environmental hazards.”
Rakesh Chauhan of Omkar Power Tech, a conglomerate of Bhagwanpur-based eight developers, said, “We are still getting offers from farmers who are interested in leasing out their land. So, the opportunity for solar power business is growing well in Bhagwanpur.”
According to Uttarakhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (UREDA), the state has to produce 500 MW after commissioning of various solar power plants. Initially, UREDA has selected Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar districts for commissioning the solar plants in the state. There are seven developers (solar companies) engaged in solar power generation business in Udham Singh Nagar.
UREDA chief project officer Arun Kumar Tyagi said, “As of now, Uttarakhand is producing 181.4 MW from both districts, and at the end of July 2017, we will be able to add 70 MW more to it through other underway projects.”