The state government has prepared a comprehensive plan to develop two Gram Panchayats in each district of the state as Green Panchayats on a pilot basis, and to achieve this, the government mulls setting up solar power projects of 500 kilowatts to one megawatt capacity in each of these Panchayats. A provision of Rs. 50 crore has been made for setting up these projects under the Himachal Pradesh Power Sector Development Programme. Himurja, a state government undertaking, has initiated the process of setting up solar projects by identifying the Gram Panchayats.
Apart from this, the Government has set a target to develop the state as a ‘Green Energy State’ by 31st March 2026. Effective steps are being taken for ensuring the participation of citizens of the state besides the Panchayati Raj institutions, which will play a pivotal role in achieving the target.
For setting up one solar project of 500 KW, an expenditure of Rs. 2.10 crore would be incurred. After becoming functional, 2250 units of power will be generated per day thereby generating an income of around Rs. 25 lakh annually from each project.
The participation of Gram Panchayats will also ensure employment opportunities to the local youth and new avenues of income generation for the Gram Panchayats. Special emphasis has been laid on the role of youth to achieve the objective to make Himachal a Green Energy State. The youth of the state will be given 40 percent subsidy for setting up solar power projects ranging from 500 KW to 2 MW on their own land or land taken on lease. The power generated from these projects will be procured by the State Electricity Board.
The government is also making efforts to develop public transport with the help of electric vehicles to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and reduce carbon emissions. In order to encourage the participation of youth in this direction, it has been decided to provide a subsidy of Rs. 50 percent with maximum limit of Rs. 50 lakh for the purchase of e-buses and e-trucks thus ensuring employment for the youth.
Further, the government has made a provision to provide subsidy at a rate of 50 percent for setting up e-charging stations for electric vehicles and a comprehensive policy for developing EV-charging stations was on the anvil.
The initiative of Green energy will also help save the country’s resources and to address the impacts of climate change along with empowering the economy of the State.