PUNE: The Maharashtra government will provide electricity by solar and wind power (non-conventional) to four lakh farmers by December 2018 and to 45 lakh farmers by 2025 across the State, said State Power Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule during an interaction with the media after a meeting held in connection with the creation of non-conventional energy on Friday. He also gave information about the government’s energy policy. Bipin Sharma, Director General of Mahaurja, was also present during the event.
Bawankule said, “There is an effort to promote the use of solar energy for agricultural purposes and by December 2019, the government will try to generate 14,400 MW of solar energy. In the first phase, which will begin in December 2018, Mahavitran will undertake solar energy projects of 500 MW capacity and Mahanirmiti will undertake projects of additional 500 MW for which the State government has acquired 250 acres of land while 1,000 hectares more will be added soon.”
“Solapur, Jalgaon and Ahmednagar have the highest number of agricultural pumps, which is why the farmers in these districts need to cooperate. The first phase will also see projects of 250 MW each being started in Konkan, Mumbai, Nashik, Aurangabad, Vidharbha and Western Maharashtra. By June 2019, another 500 MW project is being considered,” he said.
Earlier, solar energy used to cost around Rs 5 per unit, now it has been reduced to Rs 3 per unit. The State sees the availability of solar energy for more than 327 days in a year and this can be used efficiently. “Thermal energy will remain in the future, but if we generate a large amount of electricity from non-conventional sources, it will save conventional fuels. The government also has a policy of making an electric connection available to everyone,” he added. “There will be private investment in making solar energy usable for agricultural purposes. Power supply will be made available to farmers according to their needs. Farmers will bear no cost to install solar energy equipment and even if private companies generate solar energy, the distribution will be done by Mahavitran,” said Bawankule.