Himachal Pradesh Takes a Major Step Towards Sustainable Energy

Foundation Stone Laid for 10 MW Solar Power Project at Aghlor, Una District

In an effort to promote sustainable energy and reduce carbon emissions, the Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh has laid the foundation stone for a 10 MW solar power project at Aghlor in Una district. This project marks a significant step in the state's efforts to diversify its power generation portfolio and reduce reliance on conventional sources.

This marks the second significant solar power project in the district, following the completion of the 32 MW Pekhubela project in a record time of six months.

The Aghlor project will be constructed on 19 hectares of land and is expected to be completed within a swift timeframe of three months. Once operational, the plant is projected to generate 22.73 million units of electricity annually, translating to an income of ₹8 crore for the state. 

Environmental Benefits

The 10 MW solar power project will contribute to reducing 791 tonnes of carbon emissions annually aligning with Himachal Pradesh's commitment to sustainability.This significant reduction offers several environmental benefits for Himachal Pradesh:

  • Combating Climate Change: Reduced carbon emissions directly address climate change, mitigating the effects of global warming. This translates to a cooler environment, less extreme weather events, and a healthier ecosystem.
  • Improved Air Quality: Solar power generation doesn't involve burning fossil fuels, eliminating harmful air pollutants like nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides. This leads to cleaner air, especially crucial for regions with respiratory health concerns.
  • Water Conservation: Unlike traditional power plants that require significant water for cooling, solar panels have minimal water requirements. This is particularly advantageous in a state like Himachal Pradesh, where water resources are precious.
  • Land Reclamation: Compared to sprawling coal mines or large dams, solar farms occupy a smaller footprint. This allows for the potential restoration of previously degraded land, promoting biodiversity and habitat creation.
  • Reduced Reliance on Fossil Fuels: Increased solar power generation reduces dependence on non-renewable resources like coal and gas. This not only benefits the environment but also promotes energy security and independence for Himachal Pradesh.

Promotion of Tourism and Sustainable Energy Initiatives

The Chief Minister highlighted the state's commitment to sustainable energy initiatives, expressing the government's focus on harnessing solar energy and promoting tourism

He also highlighted the strategic importance of this project. Despite being a power-surplus state, Himachal Pradesh experiences a shortfall in electricity generation during winter months due to receding water levels in rivers, impacting its hydroelectric plants. This necessitates purchasing power from the open market at a cost of approximately ₹1500 crore between October and March. Solar power presents a viable solution to bridge this gap and ensure energy security throughout the year.

The government has not only undertaken these solar projects but also signed an agreement with the Oil India Company for green hydrogen production. Additionally, they are actively promoting solar power adoption within the private sector, setting an ambitious target of harnessing 200 MW of solar energy within a year.

Empowering Development and Financial Management

Addressing financial concerns surrounding developmental projects, the Chief Minister stressed the state government's determination to manage finances for various initiatives to make them self-reliant. Additionally, he underscored the need for equitable royalties in hydro power projects, citing the current 12% royalty as insufficient. The decision to develop the Aghlor project independently, despite interest from SJVNL, underscores the government's resolve to manage finances effectively and achieve self-reliance in developmental initiatives.

This focus on solar power holds immense potential for Himachal Pradesh. The Aghlor project, along with other planned initiatives, paves the way for a more sustainable and secure energy future for the state.

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