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7500 MW solar power project in Ladakh under cloud of uncertainty

It is not clear if 7500 Mega Watts (MW) solar power projects in Leh and Kargil districts of Union Territory of Ladakh will be established as expected developers could not be selected after two years and finally, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) Limited has terminated the process.

Solar panels

The Government of India has set a target of achieving a cumulative capacity of 100 Giga Watts (GW) solar PV installation by the year 2022. Under this project, the government approved setting up of 23 GW grid-connected solar PV projects in Leh and Kargil districts a few years ago. This total capacity was expected to be achieved in multiple phases. The first phase was establishment of 2500 MW grid-connected capacity in Kargil district and 5000 MW capacity in Leh district.

On December 31, 2018, the Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited, a government organization, invited solar power developers for establishing 7500 MW grid-connected solar power projects which will include implementation of power transmission and evacuation of infrastructure in Leh and Kargil districts under Global Competitive Bidding.

It was mentioned that Solar Energy Corporation of India will sign a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the developer for purchasing of solar power for 35 years based on terms and conditions.

In August 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi again said that the Centre will establish a 7.5 Giga Watt solar power park in Ladakh in order for Ladakh to become carbon neutral.

The Prime Minister said Ladakh has several specialities and we have to preserve them. Ladakh has to become a carbon-neutral Union Territory like Sikkim became an organic state in the North-East.

After that the Solar Energy Corporation of India postponed bid submission deadline till January 31, 2021. However, a few days back they terminated this extension of deadline.

SECI has not further indicated about plans in future so, it is unclear if the 7500 MW solar power projects will be completed in Ladakh. SECI and the central government should try to find some alternative and this huge potential of Ladakh doesn’t waste. The government planned this project with an estimate that it will save 12,750 tonnes of carbon emissions in every year of operation.

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