Nagpur: Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s go green drive is bearing fruits as 1,000MW load has gone solar in last two years. The peak summer load of MSEDCL this year was around 20,000MW, which means that 5% load has switched over to solar. The schemes are being implemented through Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) and the state discom.
This is in addition to solar power plants being set up by Mahagenco, MSEDCL and private parties. MSEDCL buys 850MW solar power and will purchase another 2,000MW from this fiscal.
A source in MEDA said that solar projects were going ahead in full steam and more MSEDCL load would go solar this fiscal. “We have floated tenders for supplying solar power to agricultural feeders whose total load is 250MW. In addition several rural water supply schemes, government buildings, schools, households in remote villages, farm pumps will go solar,” he added.
Bawankule has set a target of converting the entire agricultural load of 7,500MW into solar by 2025. This will ensure that farmers get power during the day. The tariff for industrial and commercial consumers will go down when farmers will no longer get subsidized MSEDCL power.
The MEDA official said that conventional load was being converted to solar through six central and state government schemes. “These include grid connected roof top scheme, chief minister agricultural solar feeder scheme, rural water works solar scheme, installing solar panels atop government buildings, schools, anganwadis, public health centres (PHCs), Atal Krishi Saur Yojana and Saubhagya Yojana,” he added.
Under the rooftop scheme, large number of industries, commercial establishments and residences have gone solar bearing the cost of panels themselves. The agricultural feeders are being converted to solar through MEDA and MSEDCL grants. Same is the case with rural water works solar schemes. District planning committee (DPC) and government departments are providing money for installing panels atop schools, government offices, etc. Central government is providing funds for installing solar agricultural pumps and supplying solar power to remote rural households.
Bawankule has sanctioned Rs2 crore to MEDA for each district. In addition, the agency seeks funds from DPC. In Nagpur district, Rs10 crore have been sanctioned and a cluster of 30 villages will go solar. Bhandara district will go entirely solar on a pilot basis.
Two years ago, MEDA had only one office in Pune. Bawankule started 10 field offices including one at Nagpur and since then solar power growth has been phenomenal.
In Nagpur, Central Museum is supplied with solar power. MEDA is installing 200kW panels atop Nagpur bench of Bombay high court. Tenders have been floated for many government buildings in Bhandara and Wardha districts too.