— Abhijit Deb
At a time when India’s “Energy Literate Prime Minister” Narendra Modi plans to aggressively promote the use of solar power to light up the homes of 400 million people, who don’t have access to electricity, a state farthest from the seat of power, Tripura-in far north eastern region of the country, is making rapid strides towards realising the dream. Agartala, the capital city of the only left ruled state in the country, is fast approaching towards becoming the first solar city in the north eastern region.
The state government led by performing chief minister Manik Sarkar has drawn up ambitious plans to connect rural villages in the state through renewable energy sources like solar power and biomass gas plants. The Tripura Renewable Energy Development Authority (TREDA), the nodal agency in the state for implementing renewable energy projects has been providing solar energy to 100 remote villages in the state under the Remote Village Electrification (RVE) scheme during the current fiscal.
The agency has also set a target to reduce the dependency on conventional energy by at least 10 per cent in the city under the Agartala Solar City Project which would help in reducing emission of green house gases. A master project of Rs 452.32 crores has been drawn for Agartala to turn it into a solar city with the installation of solar hot water systems in all the hotels, nursing homes, school hostels, government guest houses, bungalows, hospitals, shopping complexes and VIP complex.
A 45 kilo watt power-capacity solar PV plant was installed in a city market complex in the heart of capital city Agartala, is one of the ambitious plan to turn the city into a solar city. After installation, more than 25 per cent of power requirement of the market complex are being met by this plant.
Moreover, the use of solar energy is also being encouraged in government offices across the state. A total of 14 solar power plant have been set up in different state government offices to which has a total installed capacity of 23 kilo watt. Apart from this, solar streetlights have been put up in cities. During the past five years, the state government has distributed more than 70 thousand solar lanterns among the people at a subsidised rate.
In addition to facilities being created by the state government, various other organisations are coming forward to set up solar power units in Tripura. While Gujarat, the home state of the prime minister Modi is the leader in solar power generation with installed capacity of over 900 MW, Tripura generates near about 700 MW of power from alternative sources, most of which comes from solar power.
As the new prime minister upon assuming office gets into serious business of realizing “Solar powered India’ to light up remote and rural India, he might as well take a cue from the `Tripura’ model on the subject.