Himachal Pradesh to light up remote villages with solar power

The government is planning to install solar lights for individuals and community places in the remote and hilly villages of Himachal Pradesh, where snowfall often damages electricity transmission lines for days.

The state government of Himachal Pradesh is also providing solar-run pump sets, cookers and lamps across the hydropower surplus state.

The state’s tribal areas — Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur districts and some pockets in Chamba district — are often deprived of electricity due to breakage of transmission lines during winter.

To scale up action on energy efficiency and to mitigate power crisis in winters, the government is setting up off-grid solar power plants and micro hydropower projects in remote areas, a government spokesperson told IANS.

The Pangi Valley in Chamba district is one such tribal area where an initiative has been taken to provide electricity to poor families, under which an off-grid solar plant of 250 watts is being provided to each of them.

State-run Himachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency (HIMURJA) is setting up such solar energy plants that each provides power to four-five LED tubes of nine watts each that lasts for more than four hours. An LED television of 40 watts works for up to four hours and it charges mobile phones too.

The state has also set up two service centres for repair and maintenance of the off-grid solar plant and local people have been trained and hired for this purpose. The state is also making efforts to cover families other than BPL under the programme.

Earlier, the government had initiated lighting up three non-electrified villages located in the deep forests of the Great Himalayan National Park Conservation Area, the country’s richest biodiversity spot in the western Himalayas, through solar energy.

The National Institute of Solar Energy has assessed Himachal Pradesh’s solar power potential to be 33,000 megawatt (MW). In that context the public sector hydropower major SJVN Ltd has been entrusted with the responsibility of the development of an 880 MW solar park in Kaza in the Spiti Valley by the government.

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