Meghalaya has been experiencing a power deficit which is affecting the growth of the state. Nevertheless, to meet the demand for electricity in the state, the government is exploring the possibility of adopting a renewable source of energy such as solar power. Northeast Today writes
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has mooted an initiative for the hilly state to adopt sustainable methods and is planning to initiate steps to set rooftop solar projects in the state. The state government has also floated tenders to empanel agencies with the required experience.
The state electricity board, the Meghalaya Power Distribution Corporation Limited (MePDCL) has floated a tender to empanel the developers for the 10 MW residential grid-connected solar rooftop projects in the state, and the scope of work for empanelled developers includes the design, testing, supply, installation, and commissioning of the projects.
According to the information available, the residential sector installations up to 3 KW will receive CFA of 40% of the benchmark cost; installations over 3 KW and below 10 KW will receive 40% CFA for the first 3 KW and 20% for the rest. No subsidies will be provided for installations over 10 KW, and Group housing societies (GHS) and residential welfare associations (RWA) are also eligible for CFA up to 20%. However, the subsidies are subject to a limit of 10 kW per house up to 500 kW.
CM Leading the way for green Meghalaya
Meanwhile, in a significant step to promote renewable energy, Meghalaya chief minister Sangmathis year set an example by converting his official residence into a ‘Solar Energy Net Metering Facility’.
“We are exploring solar energy as we work towards self-sufficiency. We have converted my official residence into a Solar Energy Net Metering Facility and we hope to expand this across all government institutions, making Meghalaya an energy sufficient state,” the chief minister said.
CM Sangma has been encouraging the use of solar energy in a varied way. Earlier in July, the state government in a mission included village women to provide solar power in the rural areas in the Garo hill region.
A team of women solar engineers of Garo Hills has worked with Global Himalayan Expedition (GHE) and has electrified remote villages, bringing light and happiness to several households in the South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.
Sangma lauded the efforts of the women engineers in providing solar power to the remote areas of the state.
According to senior officials of the state government, Meghalaya is eyeing renewable energy to meet the growing demand for electricity in the state and has been exploring various options in the state.
“Owing to power deficit, it has impacted the growth in the state, and for this reason, the government is exploring ways to harness the renewable energy potential in the state,” the official added.
“Power deficit has greatly affected Meghalaya’s economy and the government has given a lot of thrust towards non-conventional energy which is sustainable as well as eco-friendly.
According to the Central Electricity Authority report 2016-17, the actual shortage of power in Meghalaya is at 5.9 per cent, and Meghalaya can generate about 3,669 MW from various renewable energy sources and about 3,000 MW from solar energy.
Apart from solar energy, Meghalaya can also tap 165 MW of bioenergy, 90 MW from wind energy and 414 MW from small hydro energy.
Meanwhile, according to officials of the power department of the state, the state government is planning to look into the second phase and possible expansion immediately after the completion of the rooftop solar project.
“The chief minister is keen on this and is personally taking a lot of interest, and after the completion of this project- he will be having a few review meetings and consultations to decide on the next phase of the project,” said a senior official of the Chief Ministers Office, Meghalaya.
According to the official, the state government is also exploring possible ways to set up solar projects in other parts of the state and also small projects in govt offices. The state government first aims to bank on solar energy in running all government institutions across the state.
“The state government also plans to explore opportunities of setting up small solar plants at the colleges across the state, but that will be in the later phase,” said the official.
According to senior officials in the state government, the government may also involve the expertise on solar energy available in the Department of Energy Engineering in North Eastern Hill University (NEHU).