In what can be called as Gujarat’s quantum leap in the field of solar power generation the Chief Minister Narendra Modi dedicated 600 MW solar power projects to the nation today. These projects include solar power plants at the Asia’s largest solar park at Charnka village as well as solar units at ten other places in Gujarat.
Spread in 3000 acre land the ‘Gujarat Solar Park’ at Charnka has been set up in line with the vision of Chief Minister Narendra Modi. The foundation of the park was laid by Mr. Modi in December 2010. Around 21 national and international companies have invested in the park. The 500 MW solar park has been made functional in a record time of just one year.
The Chief Minister took a panoramic view of the entire solar park from a huge tower. He greeted the US Consul General Mr. Peter Hesh and the office bearers of ADB and IFC and congratulated the owners of the developer companies for being part of this historic project. Speaking on the occasion the Chief Minister said, when the entire world is engulfed by the problem of climate change, it is Gujarat’s dream to demonstrate before the world an example of climate justice. “This achievement is not merely a step in the direction of power conservation but it provides the world with a vision that how the power needs of the future generations can be solved in an environment-friendly manner”, he said.
When Gujarat was ready with its own solar energy policy for the first time in the country, Mr. Modi said, the Central government was mulling the nation’s solar policy just on a primary level. “Due to the efforts made by the Gujarat government, the cost of solar power has come down to Rs.8.50 per unit from Rs.15 per unit”, he said. He exuded faith this cost will further go down to rupees four per unit in future once the supply of solar power gets increase.
Speaking about the State government’s future moves in the solar sector the Chief Minister said the government has planned to come up with roof-top solar power policy. This will enable a common man to generate solar power by putting solar panel on the roof of his house and sell the power to the State government. “Gujarat contributes 66% of the nation’s total solar power generation. Though the State has already become power surplus, a budget of Rs.2000 crore has been allocated for the developments in the field of renewable energy”, said the Chief Minister.
Mr. Modi recalled that the nation had launched its first space shuttle ‘Soyuz-1’ and the first satellite ‘Aryabhatt’ on April 19. “Today is the day of pride for India as the nation launched Agni-5 today and the Asia’s largest power plant has also been dedicated to the nation today”, he said.
This desert area, facing the borders of Pakistan, has seen a socio-economic turnaround with the development in solar sector. This, otherwise an arid region, has emerged as a top power producer in the country, he said.
In coming time the world will have to face scarcity of conventional energy resources like coal and gas. At such times, Gujarat has opened up a door of prosperity for future generation by focusing on solar and wind power generation. “The state has taken a giant leap and achieved a goal of 18,000 MW of power generation just in a decade, against the 4000 MW of power generation of the past”, Mr. Modi said.
The Chief Minister expressed faith that the State government’s initiatives in solar sector will influence the global energy market also. “The Gujarat government desires to set up solar power equipment manufacturing units on big scale, which will give employment to around thirty thousand youths”, he said.
Mr. Modi said the State government is committed to encourage innovations in the field of renewable energy. For accelerating the research in this field, he said, the Pandit Dindayal Petroleum University has started ‘School of Solar Energy’. With a view to create a skilled manpower in this field the State government has also started solar energy courses in ITIs, he added.
India can establish its stronghold in the world by harnessing solar energy for development, Mr. Modi said. He recalled that he suggested the Prime Minister to initiate and lead ‘Sun Son Movement’, in which, all the country that have high solar radiation will participate. “But this requires a strong political will. It is unfortunate that the present rulers of government of India do not desire to realize this dream”, he said.
US Consul General Mr. Peter Hesh said that the developed nations are also eager to invest and partner Gujarat in various fields including solar energy, which is a proof of Gujarat’s global recognition.
Radhanpur MLA Shankar Chaudhary, GEDA Chairman I.M.Bhavsar, Senior Climate Change Specialist of Asian Development Bank Mr. Naoki Sakai, Mr. Dana Yangar of International Finance Corporation, Principal Secretary to Energy Mr. Pandiyan, government officials, owners of solar energy firms, local leaders and villagers were present on the occasion.