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Localized Solar Generation & Consumption of Electricity

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“Localized” Solar Generation and Consumption of Electricity at Taluk Level will bring cheer to the rural areas of Karnataka.
Karnataka Government’s “Solar Energy Policy”, an initiative of Power Minister DK Shivakumar and Chief Minister of Karnataka Siddaramaiah was launched in May 2014 and is considered as a trend setter in the country.
It’s acknowledged by experts that Karnataka Government has the best Solar Policy, resulting in many Grid Connected, Roof Top Solar and Solar Parks being constructed in the State currently. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), Government of India, also stated that the “Karnataka Solar Policy 2014-21” is one of the best in India and has given an award for excellence in Renewable Energy among all states.
Karnataka’s Solar Policy has enabled projects such as Asia’s Biggest Solar Park of 2000 MW to be built in Pavagada, Tumkur for which Land leasing process is being done currently. Apart from this, Solar Parks with a capacity of 500 MW are nearing completion. “Surya Raitha” is another unique solar scheme to supplement farmer income and power their irrigation pumpsets. Roof Top Solar has also been positively received with several individuals and corporations using this opportunity to generate their own electricity. (Best example is the Chinnaswamy Stadium)
Now the Energy Department has come up with another innovative solar scheme which ensures that nearly every backward taluk of the state is building it’s own renewable energy capacity. 60 Taluks spread across Karnataka have been allotted up to 20 MW by Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited and the power generated will be bought by ESCOM’s.
The unique thing about this scheme is that the power generated will be used to supply locally to the taluk where the solar park will be situated. This sort of “decentralizing” power and delivering it to the surrounding regions will bring on board land owners and farmers who will directly benefit, thus creating a “community solar park”. This is the first time in India that such an initiative is being attempted with focus on investors who want clean energy production and long-term benefits for the wider community.
There are many benefits of such solar projects, including:
l Local investment opportunities
With many localized, taluk level solar projects, members of the local community are invited to invest in the development.
l Environmental benefits
Such solar projects generate clean electricity which is used locally thus reducing the carbon footprint of the community as a whole.
l Local employment
Creates a boost to local manufacturers and suppliers. This helps bring jobs and new skills to the local community. The Karnataka Government has also reserved 5 taluks for Module Manufacturers of Karnataka. This will in the long term encourage local production and sustain solar industries of the state.
l Upgradation of Electricity Infrastructure in backward Taluks
Energy Minister DK Shivakumar said that this scheme will also enable building of new sub-stations and up-gradation of transmission facilities in these backward taluks. He added “Because most of the energy produced will be used locally, the transmission loss will also be very minimal”. Once, this is successful in the taluks that have been listed in Phase 1, the scheme will be expanded to regions such as Malnad and to all taluks of the state.
The taluks have been chosen with absolutely no bias towards the ruling party with many of opposition MLA taluk seats being in the list.
The only criteria applied were radiation potential and backwardness. Karnataka will continue to expand it’s renewable energy footprint and expects to be the leading state in Solar by 2020.
The Government’s policy also enables Solar equipment manufacturing and this has resulted many investors to set-up manufacturing plants in the state. This specific scheme of localizing solar energy production and consumption will sure be a trend setter for our country.

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