Top Indian energy companies, including Adani Power, Essel Infraprojects Limited, and Azure Power are bullish about the Uttar Pradesh solar power sector and have shown interest in setting up projects. The three companies have proposed investment to the tune of over Rs 50 billion (Rs 5,000 crore) in this space. Under the new UP solar energy policy 2017, the Yogi Adityanath government is eyeing private investment of Rs 50 billion and attaining solar energy capacity of 10,700 megawatt (Mw) over the next 4-5 years. Other companies in this league include Sukhbir Agro Energy Limited, Amplus Energy Solutions and CleanMax Solar. According to sources, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the proposed investment would be signed during the forthcoming mega ‘UP Investors’ Summit’ on 21-22 February, 2018. UP principal secretary energy and additional energy resources Alok Kumar said of the targetted 10,700 Mw of solar energy capacity by 2022, about 6,400 Mw would comprise setting up of utility-scale grid solar power projects, which feed directly to the grid under power purchase agreement (PPA). Meanwhile, more than 40 companies, including all the marquee names, have participated in the tariff-based e-bidding for the procurement of 1,000 Mw of solar energy, thus giving a major boost to the UP energy department mandarins. Earlier, UP New and Renewable Energy Development Agency (UPNEDA), the nodal state agency for solar power, had on January 8 invited e-bids for the procurement of 1,000 Mw of solar energy. Under the new policy, the Adityanath government would also prepare an action plan to develop a green energy corridor in the arid Bundelkhand region at an investment of about Rs 40 billion, which would be partly funded by the Centre. “Bundelkhand is ideal for solar energy since it is abundant in the barren land to set up new plants. The setting up of solar energy units would not only give a major economic fillip in the region but also create employment opportunities to stop the migration of youth,” UP additional energy resources minister Brijesh Pathak had earlier said. The new industries being set up in Bundelkhand would also get comparatively cheaper power from the solar energy plants to boost industrialisation.
Besides, the state wants to promote solar power in the impoverished Purvanchal region (Eastern UP) to spur economic activities and create jobs.As an added incentive, the new policy allows investors the facility of ‘open access’ and thus to sell power to individual or institutional consumers within or outside the state. This was restricted in the previous policy framework and they were supposed to feed the entire energy generated by UP Power Corporation Limited (UPPCL) grid. The previous Akhilesh Yadav government had set up a target of ramping up solar energy capacity by 500 Mw by 2017.