For the utilisation of land under solar power plan, state-run Gujarat Industries Power Company Limited has decided to use the land for the agriculture purpose. For this, the company is taking help from agriculture universities of the state. Under guidance of the university scientists, GIPCL will grow grains and vegetables below solar panels on pilot basis at the Amarol village of Anand district. According to Anand Agriculture University’s (AAU) research director, the company will harvest, paddy, castor, bajra, guar and vegetables on some 2.5 hectares land on trial basis and if successful, the same will be replicated on more land cover.
The current capacity of Vadodara and Mangrol plants is 815 Mw. The Rs 1,350 crore company’s net profit stood at Rs 188.41 crore in FY16. “We have started pilot project of sowing agricultural crop. The basic idea behind it is utilisation of land under solar panels so that both farming and power generation can be done on agriculture land,” said M J Desai deputy general manager of GIPCL. For the pilot project, GIPCL has installed one mega watt (Mw) solar power project the Amarol village of Anand district. The company has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with AAU and the university will guide the GIPCL in agriculture part.
Desai said: “We will take different season crops in kharif, winter and summer and AAU will help us in it. On the base of result we will extend the project next year. AAU will submit the detailed project report (DPR) to the state government next year.”Gujarat government is also considering to come up with special policy on the basis of the DPR. Other agencies of the power department are also working on the similar projects in other parts of the state. AAU has levelled the farm land under solar power plant and will soon start harvesting of kharif crops such as bajra, guar, castor and paddy. The university will check the environment below the solar panels is favorable for the sowing or not and which crop can be sown.
K B Kathiria, director of research, AAU said: “Our scientists will observe the climate conditions below solar panels and its impact on plants. The entire process will start from next week and result will most probably come out in next three to four months.”According to the university officials, if this pilot project is successful, the utilisation of land under solar power projects will improve and farmers would stand to benefit. Kathiria said: “We are also trying to grow vegetables like potato, onion for trial. Any small crop is possible under the solar panels.”