Himachal able to tap 10 percent of its solar power potential

| Thursday, April 14, 2016 - 14:27
First Published |
Solar panels

The state-run energy development agency failed to estimate the total solar potential | Photo: IANS

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has been able to tap only about 10 percent of its solar power potential, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has said.

Against an estimated solar power potential of 33,000 MW, only 3.29 MW was installed till March 2015, the CAG report said.

The state-run Himachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency failed to estimate the total solar potential, it said.

With the financial assistance of the union ministry of new and renewable energy, the Agency had installed solar observatories in Solan and Palampur towns in June 2014 for measurement of solar potential, but that remained an unfinished job until August last year.

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The National Institute of Solar Energy had assessed Himachal Pradesh's solar power potential to be 33,000 MW, said the national auditor.

It noticed that the Agency had installed 956 light emitting diode (LED) type SPV street lights at a cost of Rs 1.59 crore in 2009-10 through firm Ritika Systems Private Ltd in 10 districts.

A total of 426 LED lighting systems have not been functioning since November 2014. The Agency has not taken any action for making the systems functional till May 2015 in spite of the fact that a comprehensive maintenance contract was signed with Ritika, said the report.

The CAG also picks holes in the distribution of solar lanterns in the tribal areas of the state.

The Agency had distributed 417 solar lanterns in Chango, Shelkhar and Sumra villages of Kinnaur district in October 2011.

Audit noticed that 596 solar lanterns were again distributed in June 2014 to 417 families of the same villages.

Inspection showed that 393 lanterns costing Rs 10.32 lakh distributed among the villagers were not put to use as they were using the lanterns already provided to them earlier.

There was delay of 20 months by the Agency in commissioning the ministry of new and renewable energy's solar photovoltaic power plant of 200 KW at Baru Sahib in Sirmaur district. The plant worth Rs 5.40 crore was completed in May 2011.

The CAG in its report observed that the Agency has not conducted a comprehensive survey for assessing wind power potential during 2012-15.

It has also not fixed any targets for wind power for 2012-15. Wind plant of 0.01 MW capacity has been installed in the state at Pooh in Kinnaur district in March 2008 by Garrison Engineers.

The turbine generated only 1,315 units of power till January 2010 and thereafter the system had stopped functioning.

Non-functioning of the power plant has rendered the expenditure of Rs 41.30 lakh as unfruitful, said the CAG.

Official sources told IANS that in March the central government approved the state's master plans for development of Shimla and Hamirpur as solar cities.

The ministry of new and renewable energy has also sanctioned 15 kWp (Kilowatt peak) solar power plant to be installed at Panchayat Bhawan and 20 kWp plants each at The Ridge and at the old bus stand in Shimla.

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