Punjab Secures Affordable Solar Power through Landmark Agreement with SJVN

by Parminder Singh Sodhi

In a significant stride towards enhancing its energy landscape, Punjab has sealed a pivotal deal with Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) that promises economical solar power for its residents within the span of 18 months.

Addressing the gathered media, Chief Minister Mann highlighted the magnitude of the occasion, emphasizing that this was the largest memorandum of understanding (MoU) ever inked between Punjab State Power Corporation Ltd (PSPCL) and SJVN, a distinguished player in the realm of renewable energy and a subsidiary of the Bhakra Beas Management Board. This groundbreaking agreement pertains to a substantial 1,200 MW solar power capacity.

This achievement marked a departure from the era spanning 2007 to 2017, during which none of the agreements formed under the SAD-BJP administration yielded rates below Rs 7 per unit. However, under the new agreement, the government is committed to a ceiling of Rs 2.75 per unit, a figure that significantly diminishes the cost of energy production. This unprecedented advantage of a low-cost power purchase agreement, which stands as the “most economical to date,” will be transparently transferred to the consumers, Mann assured.

The Chief Minister revealed that SJVN Green Energy Limited, a subsidiary of SJVN, has affirmed its commitment to supply 1,000 MW of power at a rate of Rs 2.53 per unit, drawing from its installations in Bikaner (Rajasthan) and Bhuj (Gujarat). Simultaneously, the remaining 200 MW will emanate from SJVN’s Hoshiarpur plant, priced at Rs 2.75 per unit. Mann underlined the substantial gains that Punjab stands to accrue from this monumental MoU, estimating a remarkable Rs 431 crore in savings. Furthermore, he underscored that this pricing structure will remain unaltered over the 25-year duration of the agreement.

Looking forward, Mann expounded on the state’s commitment to promote clean energy and expand its support to agricultural tubewells. He informed that the PSPCL has initiated additional tender processes to secure an impressive 2,500 MW of solar power. In a candid observation, he criticized the previous administrations of both the SAD-BJP and Congress for disproportionately favoring private stakeholders in past energy agreements.

In other announcements, Chief Minister Mann dismissed rumors of an impending Cabinet reshuffle, asserting that the focus remains on the forthcoming monsoon session of the Assembly. He categorically denied any threats to the Pong and Bhakra dams and dispelled speculations about discontinuing free power to farmers. As a gesture of appreciation for democratic unanimity, he disclosed a grant of Rs 5 lakh to panchayats that achieve the feat of electing their representatives unanimously.

Parminder Singh Sodhi

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