The Indian government may likely have revived plans to set up the country’s largest solar power park in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the government of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and Union government for the development of two mega solar parks in Leh and Kargil district of Ladakh region.
According to the Minister for Science & Technology, Sajjad Gani Lone, the cumulative capacity of these solar parks would be 7,500 megawatts. Solar park of 5,000 megawatts capacity would be constructed in Leh district and 2,500 megawatts capacity in Kargil district.
Till now, government has failed to initiate the process on these solar parks due to non-availability of land and grid infrastructure.
The agreement for these solar parks was signed way back in 2014 by the central government however due to lack of transmission network and lack of takers from the beneficiary states, this project was put on hold. When the initial agreements were signed nearly three years back India’s solar power target for 2022 was just 22 gigawatts; now it has been increased to 100 gigawatts.
Signing of the fresh agreements is possibly a sign that the governments and the other stakeholders may have made progress in solving these problems.
Jammu and Kashmir receives some of the highest solar radiation in the country. The state, however, faces a number of issues that have inhibited large-scale expansion of power generation sources. Lack of government focus on infrastructure expansion, due to decades-long insurgency, remote population centres, and mountainous terrain.
Ladakh, one of the most remote places in the country, is excessively dependent on fuel imports from other states. Solar power thus presents a tremendous opportunity for the region to attain energy independence and earn significant revenue by exporting electricity to large demand centres in North India.