Solar energy: an alternative to conventional energy sources at J&K
As solar power is emerging as the new source to meet the world’s energy needs, India’s growing efforts to increase the share of renewable energy has led to a substantial increase in solar power generation in the recent years.
The country has set an ambitious target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, including 100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind, 10 GW of bioenergy and 5 GW of small hydroelectricity. The government of Jammu and Kashmir has taken note of the country’s ambition to reach 175 GW by 2022 and has accelerated progress in the installation of renewable energy generation plants.
According to reports from the Ministry of Renewable Energy, a total of 5063.10 MW of renewable energy capacity was added during the year 2019-20, bringing the cumulative installed renewable energy capacity to 83.38 GW in October 2019. This includes 37.09 GW of wind power. , 31.70 GW of solar energy, 9.94 GW of bioenergy and 4.65 GW of small hydroelectricity. In addition, projects with a capacity of 30.06 GW are in various stages of implementation and a capacity of 39.67 GW is in various stages of tendering. Clean energy projects now account for more than a fifth of India’s installed power generation capacity.
The extended benefits of renewable energy sources are that they can be used to generate electricity with less impact on the environment. Generating electricity from conventional sources is also the source of greenhouse gas emissions attributable to global warming and has a negative impact on the climate. Consequently, there is a global shift towards sustainable renewable energy generation.
Jammu & Kashmir has huge potential for solar energy. The installation of a renewable energy capacity would make it possible to cover part of its energy needs. Thus, it further necessitates the use of renewable energy sources to bridge the deficit gap.
As the challenges of climate change and global warming continuously threaten the global community, the government of Jammu and Kashmir has also recognized the urgent need to address these challenges. To create an enabling environment and develop an excellent business ecosystem to harness the full potential of solar energy through government, private companies, public-private partnerships and individual efforts, the government envisions a future with reduced dependence on fossil fuels by promoting renewable energy sources.
The J&K government recognizes that renewable energy can also significantly increase the energy security of J&K and the nation. J&K also aims to advance new technologies in renewable energy generation and its application through the participation of farmers, industries and the general public to stimulate the local economy. Providing a link to local businesses as a joint venture/SPV for investment would give a boost to local businesses and also provide backward linkages to industries that invest lesser amounts.
Solar power projects can be set up in a much shorter time compared to conventional power projects and the cost of solar power has become more economical today. Solar power can also help meet the energy needs of grid connected as well as off-grid applications such as solar powered agricultural pump sets.
J&K is rich in renewable natural resources to generate electricity. It has several microclimatic locations like Udhampur under a subtropical climate. Additionally, J&K plains like Jammu, Akhnoor, Samba and Kathua fall within the composite climatic zone. The whole of J&K receives a good amount of global horizontal irradiance (GHI) which ranges from 4.97 to 5.17 kWh/m2/day.
In order to promote this new source of energy, the J&K government has launched the program to provide a rooftop solar photovoltaic power station at subsidized rates. This program is implemented by the Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) of the Department of Science and Technology.
Under this program, a 40% subsidy is given to consumers for the installation of photovoltaic solar roofs. The solar roofs are available with a capacity of 1 KW to 10 KW and a five-year free maintenance is also provided to consumers.
Although Jammu and Kashmir has vast potential for hydropower generation with several massive projects underway that will make the UT power surplus region in the years to come, the J&K is also making remarkable progress to generate energy needs through renewable resources.