The state government of Punjab has approved a pilot solar photovoltaic (PV) project to be developed on agricultural land.
The pilot project for solar energy generation will be developed on agricultural land on a rental basis, besides allowing farmers to undertake high-value cultivation of fruits and vegetables.
According to a Press Trust of India (PTI) report, Punjab’s chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh approved the launch of the pilot project on July 16, 2018.
Chairing a meeting with a Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) delegation, led by CII national president Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Singh also agreed to send a joint deputation from Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) and senior officers from agriculture and horticulture department to visit Maharashtra to examine a similar project developed under CII.
Director General CII Chandrajit Banerjee informed Singh that several private players were interested in setting up solar projects over the land of farmers for a minimum lease period of 25 years.
Underscoring the need to motivate farmers to move towards crop diversification, the chief minister hoped that the same project could be replicated in the Kandi area and southwest Punjab, especially in the citrus orchards and vegetable-growing belt near Ludhiana and Malerkotla.
Most of the land in Punjab is cultivable, leaving few areas where solar PV projects can be developed. In the past too, Punjab was one of the first states to adopt canal bank and canal top solar PV projects. In such a scenario, the success of this pilot project can be a game-changer for the state’s renewable growth story.
Singh also approved a green building pilot project, as suggested by CII, and expressed his willingness to implement the concept in the upcoming government medical college and hospital at Mohali. The principal secretary will work out modalities in consultation with Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) to evolve the necessary guidelines for making the concept mandatory for new government buildings to cut down substantially on the carbon footprint and to save on energy.
Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.