Under the scheme, farmers are entitled to a financial subsidy of nearly 60% of the equipment costs to set up a solar plant
Ranchi: Farmers of Jharkhand can now produce solar energy on their barren fields and earn by selling the power produced to the Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited (JBVNL) under the Union government’s flagship scheme, Kusum Yojana, which aims at promoting clean energy in rural India.
The Jharkhand State Electricity Regulation Commission (JSERC) has approved JBVNL’s tariff petition for solar power to be bought from the farmers after a public hearing last month. As per the approved tariff, farmers can sell power to JBVNL at the maximum rate of Rs 3.09 per unit.
Under the scheme, farmers are entitled to a financial subsidy of nearly 60% of the equipment costs to set up a solar plant. “The state and the Centre have a 30:30 cost sharing arrangement while the rest has to be borne by the beneficiary,” K K Verma, director of Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Authority (JREDA), told TOI.
Verma said the Centre has envisaged to augment India’s solar power production capacity to 450 gigawatt through the scheme. Jharkhand, which has a cumulative capacity of producing 29MW solar power at present, will add another 50MW to its kitty in the coming years.
JBVNL officials said the infrastructure will be laid out to connect the solar power producing units to its grid networks. As per estimates, a power plant of 5MW capacity will need 10 acres of land and an investment of up to Rs 5 crore.
Each farmer can produce a minimum of 0.2MW and a maximum of 2MW power through its plants, which will be set up by a private agency, which, in turn, will be hired by JREDA through an open tender in the coming weeks. JBVNL will purchase the power at the rate fixed by JSERC and will avail a subsidy of Rs 0.50 per unit from the Centre. “As many as 30 farmers, mostly from Garhwa, Latehar, Palamu and Lohardaga, have expressed interest in availing the scheme,” a JBVNL official said.
On February 9, Union power minister R K Singh, replying to a query raised by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Deepak Prakash in Parliament, said Jharkhand’s solar power production capacity is much lower than other states.