Harnessing solar energy


Notwithstanding the fact that solar energy can play crucial role in meeting the electricity requirement of the State, the potential is being harnessed only for operating solar lanterns and lamps, street lights and pumps in certain parts of the State. However, majority of such lanterns and lamps remain defunct due to non-seriousness on the part of Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agencies (JAKEDA). Harnessing solar energy is the least priority for all the concerned agencies in Jammu and Kashmir despite the fact that State has second highest potential in the country after Rajasthan. Moreover, due to absolute non-seriousness the fate of two Ultra Mega and a Solar City Projects is hanging in balance during the past several years. As per the study conducted by the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Jammu and Kashmir has solar power potential of 111.05 GWp (Gigawatt-peak), which is the second highest in the country after Rajasthan where the potential is 142.32 GWp. None of the other States in the country have the potential even up to 65 GWp. No serious attempts are being made to harness this potential to make the State self reliant in this sector and during 2016-17 year merely 0.77 Million Units of electricity was generated from solar energy. Astonishingly, during the current year not even single unit of electricity has been generated from renewable energy till date.
It is pertinent to mention here that the States which have far less potential as compared to Jammu and Kashmir have been able to generate several hundreds of million units of electricity from solar energy. Keeping in view solar energy potential particularly in Ladakh region, some years back the Union Government had sanctioned two projects-one each for Leh and Kargil to generate 7500 Mega Watts of solar power and even a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Science and Technology Ministry of Jammu and Kashmir. It is worthwhile to mention here that average solar energy at Leh is 5530 Whr/m2/day while the estimated average for Kargil and Nubra is 5390 Whr/m2/day and 5300 Whr/m2 respectively because these areas of Ladakh region have best solar radiations in the country. The inability to harness the solar energy potential is notwithstanding the fact that State has also formulated Solar Power Policy and the sole objective of the same is to promote generation of green and clean power by using solar energy. Had there been seriousness in implementing the Solar Power Policy there would have been substantial progress in harnessing the potential.

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