Maharashtra is looking at attracting investments worth Rs 50,000 crore to boost its solar energy project, which it will promote at the Make in India Week.Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis held discussions with Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal aggressively pushing solar power. The government, with the help of the Centre and private sectors, is set to bring modifications to reduce solar power cost to make it farmer-friendly in rural Maharashtra.This has been meticulously planned and would be projected during the mega event from February 13 to 18, it is learnt.Fadnavis said, “The state government is keen on tapping maximum investments in solar sector which would play a crucial role in accomplishing our goal to provide 24 x7 power to Maharashtra.”
He added, “The agrarian crisis in a state reeling under drought can be effectively tackled only through making the farmers self reliant with water and power. The Centre and the state are working together to attain targets albeit with some concern related to cost and infrastructure which are being finetuned.” The chief minister said the state should “bring down installation cost of solar panel to make it more affordable to farmers.” The state government’s stress on solar power is to make the agro-sector, specially in rural Maharashtra, economically viable for which a number of policy measures have been taken. In the last one year, the state government provided 1.5 lakh agriculture pumps to farmers including those in the 14 drought-prone districts. There is a clear directive to the energy department to immediately give connections to farmers on demand and get rid of the waiting period. Fadnavis held a meeting to review and explore the state’s potential to promote solar energy.
The Centre’s decision to allow 100 per cent foreign direct investment in renewable energy, especially solar power, is expected to bring greater investments. Maharashtra is among the first states to take up solar energy on a high scale. It has set a target to provide 5 lakh agriculture pumps operating on solar energy. At present, the cost for solar power works out to Rs 7 per unit. The state and the Centre heavily subsidise solar power. Unlike thermal power, solar power is exempted from taxes to reduce overall cost. It may be mentioned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emphasised the significance of solar energy in the Make in India Mission. Earlier, the Centre had decided to enhance solar power capacity under the National Solar Mission by five times to achieve the 100 gigawatt (GW) mark by the year 2022 and the total investment is an estimated Rs 6,000 billion.