Ranchi: Chief Minister Hemant Soren on Tuesday unveiled an ambitious new solar policy aiming at increasing clean energy capacity up to 4,000 megawatts (MW) in the next five years. The policy aims to encourage families to use rooftop solar panels in cities, and a subsidy of up to 80 percent of the total installation cost will be given to people having an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh. The policy also seeks to create jobs, growth opportunities and sustainability.
Currently, the state generates less than 88 MW of solar energy. The new policy has been made progressive and investor-friendly. Land rules have been simplified and several other projects such as solar floating projects and canal top solar projects have been introduced to the new policy.
Earlier in August 2015, the state had notified its first Solar Power Policy with a target to generate 2,650 megawatts of solar energy by 2020. It also launched ‘Jharkhand Solar Rooftop Policy, 2018’ to promote rooftop solar installations. However, the initiatives failed to attract private investors due to several reasons including land and incentive issues.
In order to sort out those issues, Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) partnered with the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), a leading notfor- profit policy research institute, for drafting the new policy. According to the
policy, there are three broad project categories – utility scale solar, distributed solar and off-grid solar – with different target generations. The policy envisions solar plants to be installed on government, private lands and water bodies including dams and canals. Jharkhand has 31 reservoirs with a cumulative surface area of 354 sq km, indicating a conservative potential of 1160 MW.
The policy also aims to deploy 400 MW of solar installations on canal tops. The policy also proposes to create a land bank under the policy so that private parties could get land easily for solar power projects. It also aims to develop 1000 model solar villages to ensure complete solarisation of various consumptive and productive loads.
Jharkhand has potential for solar energy due to its topography. The state has around 300 days of clear sun with high solar insolation. In a bid to promote rooftop solar projects in cities, the policy proposes a 60 per cent subsidy, which also includes a central subsidy, for installation of up to 3kW power plants and an 80 per cent subsidy for installation of 3kW to 10kW plants. However, the subsidy will apply only to those beneficiaries whose annual income is less than Rs 3 lakh. There is already a central subsidy scheme for such rooftop solar plants for people having an annual income above Rs 3 lakh. There is a provision for up to 60 percent subsidy under solar for livelihood projects.
It includes promoting solar-powered appliances such as solar dryers for farm produce, solar-powered cold storage, solar desalination, solar charkha and others. The policy also proposes for a dedicated Solar Policy Cell to be created under the JREDA. All statutory clearances and approvals will be provided to the solar power project developers through this single window facility in a time-bound manner within 60 days.