Solar energy Current Affairs

Gujarat Government launches Suryashakti Kisan Yojana

Gujarat government has launched Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY), solar power scheme for farmers enabling them to generate electricity for their captive consumption as well as sell surplus power to grid and earn extra buck. It is claimed to be first such scheme in the country, where farmer will produce his power and sell surplus to State power utility.

The pilot project of the scheme will kickoff from July 2018 and about 137 feeders will be set up. It will cover as many as 12,400 farmers from 33 districts. The project cost is around Rs 870 crore and it will generate 175 MW.

Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY)

The scheme aims at empowering farmers of state to generate their own electricity using solar energy and help doubling their income. Under it, farmers of state having existing electricity connection will be given solar panels as per their load requirements. It envisages setting up of separate feeders for agricultural solar energy consumption.

Cost Sharing: The State and Central governments will give 60% subsidy on cost of project. The farmer is required to take 5% cost, while 35% will be provided to him as affordable loan with interest rates of 4.5 to 6%.

Duration of scheme: It is 25 years, which is split between 7-year period and 18-year period. For first 7 years, farmers will get per unit rate of Rs 7 (Rs 3.5 by state power utility + Rs 3.5 by state government). For the subsequent 18 years they will get rate of Rs 3.5 for each unit sold.

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Cabinet approves Host country Agreement between India and ISA

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of Host country (Headquarters) Agreement between India and International Solar Alliance (ISA). The agreement was signed between Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and ISA in March, 2018.

Key Facts

The agreement gives ISA juridical personality power to contract, acquire and dispose off movable and immovable properties and also to institute and defend legal proceedings. Under it, ISA will enjoy such privileges, applicable tax concessions and immunities that are necessary for ISA’s Headquarter to independently discharge its function and programmes. It will derive its status, privileges and immunities as per Article 10 of Framework Agreement.

Significance

The agreement will institutionalize functional arrangements between India and ISA. It will help in smooth transition of ISA as international inter-governmental organization. It will lead to accelerated solar technology development and deployment in ISA member countries including India.

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

ISA was jointly launched by India and France in November 2015 at Paris on side lines of COP21 UN Climate Change Conference. Its Framework Agreement came into force in December 2017. It celebrated its founding day on 11th March, 2018. It is headquartered at campus of Natioanl Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, Harayana, making it first international intergovernmental treaty based organization to be headquartered in India.

Objectives of ISA: Undertake joint efforts required to reduce the cost of finance and the cost of technology; Mobilize more than US $1000 billion of investments needed by 2030 for massive deployment of solar energy; Pave way for future technologies adapted to needs of solar rich 121 countries lying fully or partially between Tropic of Cancer and Capricon.

ISA’s 4 ongoing programmes: Scaling Solar Mini Grids; Affordable Finance at Scale; Scaling Solar Applications for Agricultural Use; Scaling Solar Rooftop catering to the needs of solar energy in specific areas.

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