Karnataka: Solar policy amended by cabinet

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  • The state Cabinet approved the implementation of solar power projects under distributed-generation approach wherein electricity generated will be supplied to the local community.
  • The move will help cope with the problem of peak-hour demand. Besides, generation of only up to 200 Mega Watt of solar power will be allowed in each taluk, excluding projects implemented on solar rooftops. These are some of the amendments brought into the Solar Policy 2014-21.
  • The Cabinet, which met under the chairmanship Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, gave its approval to amendments proposed to the policy.
  • Permission will be accorded on first-come-first-served basis. This has been done to ensure that solar power is generated across all taluks of the state.
  • Solar power projects are now concentrated in only the few districts of Tumakuru, Kolar and Chitradurga in the absence of any restriction.
  • Currently generation units are located in one corner of the state and power is transmitted all over from those units. But under the solar policy, units will be set up wherever the land is available and the generated power will also be consumed locally.
  • This will not only help redeem transmission loss but also saves money that should have been spent on infrastructure
  • Be it the roof-top or ground mounted generation units, they will be connected with the grid system of local Escoms and come in handy while catering to the peak load.
  • The government wants the projects to come up in all taluks. Hence, the restriction has been imposed. The amended policy has also enhanced the target to generate solar power by 2021 to 6,000 MW from 2,000 MW.

Land bank dropped

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  • Karnataka’s initiative of obtaining land from farmers on lease basis to set up solar parks was lauded by the union and directed all states to adopt the same method rather than going in for acquisition.
  • Karnataka had previously contemplated to create private land banks owned by individual farmers and farmer groups. But under the new policy, the government has done away with the land bank system.
  • Instead, the government has proposed to set up Solar Energy centre of excellence and incubation centre at the state level for promoting innovation in technology and skill development, R&D.
  • Further the policy proposes to generate solar power in every taluk not more than 200 Mw so as to ensure enough power supply all through the taluk.
  • While a high level project approval committee used to approve projects with capacity more than 1 MW, now Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Corporation Limited (KREDL) has been given more teeth and based on KREDL’s recommendation, the state government will approve the projects.

What are the new policies

  • The state government has decided to pursue solar energy aggressively and proposed a slew of amendments to its Solar Policy 2014-21.
  • While the earlier policy had envisaged including at least 3 per cent of solar energy in its total energy usage, the latest amendment has increased the cap to 8 per cent. Initially Karnataka had aimed to generate 2,000 MW by 2021 and now the same target has been increased to 6,000 Mw.
  • The government has proposed to set up Solar Energy centre of excellence and incubation centre at the state level for promoting innovation in technology and skill development, R&D
  • The new policy has proposed to motivate people to set up a hybrid generation unit which involves both solar and wind mill.
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