Govt tweaks solar policy to woo investors

Karnataka was the first southern state, according to the government, to come out with a solar policy in 2011. DH File Photo

The Cabinet on Friday decided to amend the Karnataka Solar Policy 2014-2021 by relaxing the 100 MW power generation capacity stipulated for solar parks, a move the government believes will attract more investors in the sector. 

"The policy requires a project to be of 100 MW capacity if it is to be considered as a solar park for which we get subsidies from the Centre. But a solar park with 100 MW capacity needs at least 500 acres of land. So, to encourage more solar energy production, the 100 MW requirement has been brought down to 25 MW. Now, in a decentralised manner, smaller 25 MW parks can be set up,” Law Minister J C Madhuswamy explained while briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

The solar energy generated by private players can be sold either to the government’s grid or to corporates. 

Karnataka was the first southern state, according to the government, to come out with a solar policy in 2011. The policy, however, was tweaked to aggressively chase the target of achieving 8% of the total energy consumption through solar by March 2021. The solar energy potential in Karnataka is estimated in excess of 24,700 MW. 

The government has also fixed a time limit for solar park projects to be commissioned. "We have fixed 18 months as scheduled time because those who started the projects were not completing it in a time-bound manner,” Madhuswamy said. 

Other decisions:

* CM authorised to constitute Cabinet sub-committee to fix support price for agricultural and horticultural  produce. 

* Retired public prosecutor MH  Itagi appointed as Lokayukta’s senior assistant public prosecutor on contract basis. 

* Ex post facto approval for hike in salary of police personnel as per 6th Pay Commission and the Auradkar Committee recommendations. Inclusion of personnel under fire and prisons departments deferred.

* Approval for Rs 29.40 crore toward land acquisition for Konkan Railway Corporation Limited.

* Approval for development works costing Rs 23.65 crore at Koppal-Ginigera railway station. 

* Approval to construct 4-6 floored complex on CMM court premises Nrupathunga Road at an estimated cost of Rs 35 crore.

* Approval for model solid waste management bylaws for municipalities excluding Bengaluru.

* Nod for Visvesvaraya Jala Nigam and Cauvery Neeravari Nigam to raise loans worth Rs 735 crore and Rs 250 crore, respectively, externally. 

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