Tap solar power potential
Three years on, the Solar Power Policy awaits implementation in the state. Seeing the potential for solar power in Jammu Kashmir, the government had framed solar power policy in 2013 to harness the solar power. It was framed with the object of relieving the state of the burden of purchasing power to meet its growing demands. According to official data, the state has spent over Rs 35,000 crore on power purchase during the past one decade. It has been reliably learnt that the state purchases power worth thousands of crores annually. Notwithstanding this, the state has failed to harness solar power for unknown reasons. The union government had plans to build the world's largest solar power project with a capacity of producing 5000 MGs of power but there seems no headway in setting up the project which requires 20,000 acres of land. As per a study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Jammu Kashmir has a solar power potential of 111.05 GWp, the second highest in India after Rajas can produce 142 GWp. The reluctance of the government to harness the potential raises many a brow. It could take the state out of the crisis that it is facing now and also lessen the burden on the state exchequer. The Union Government had plans to establish solar photovoltaic plants in many government institutions to provide hassle-free electricity with zero emission in the state. Under this scheme, two major projects with the potential of generating 7500 Mega Watts of solar power plant were also sanctioned for Leh and Kargil districts. But unfortunately, the state government has not even prepared the project reports. Even pre-feasibility reports are yet to be prepared. The annual average solar energy in Leh is 5530 Whr/m2/day, Kargil 5390 Whr/m2/day which is enough for running mega solar projects. It needs to be made clear that the state cannot progress unless sufficient power is made available at cheap rates. The government must awake and do the needful in this regard.