In the energy-starved country like India, it is of immense importance that alternate sources of energy are explored and put to use to reduce the power deficit which is hounding us ever since independence. This is also true of our State. The irony is that we have abundant water resources which could generate extra energy to meet our requirements and even to export to other states. But owing to paucity of funds we are not able to exploit these resources. But there are other states that do not possess as much of water resource to produce electricity. They depend on thermal power or hydroelectric power supply.
An alternative to these sources is the unlimited solar energy if we are able to harness it. Fortunately, we have bright sunny days for most part of the year and as a tropical country India has the great advantage of harnessing this source. It is also true of our state. The Chief Minister was chairing a review meeting of Jammu and Kashmir Energy Development Agency (JAKEDA) and Science & Technology Innovation Council recently where she said that State had solar energy potential which needed to be harnessed. The State has already taken some steps in that direction but the idea of making maximum use of solar energy had to be spread among the people. The mandate of JAKEDA for taking up of solar power plants has been enhanced from two megawatts to 10 megawatts. About 25 sites have been identified in the State for setting up solar power plants valuing around 41 megawatts under the Grid Connected Rooftop Power Plants Scheme. The department has fixed a target of setting up plants up to capacity of 450 megawatts by 2022.
This is all encouraging news and we are happy that there is at least a plan on the paper. But an observation has to be made. Many years ago, Ladakh was identified as the region where solar power supply would be made available on experimental basis. The experiment was successful but then the project was left where it was and no further improvement in the scheme was visible. What is important is the floating of the scheme on the ground and not just giving it media hype and then forgetting it. Solar projects should be implemented in letter and spirit then alone can we say that it will reduce dependence on normal supply of hydroelectric power.