Solar power reaches Himachal interior villages


Shimla : A comprehensive programme has been launched by the Himachal Pradesh government to solve the power problem in far flung areas. While the electricity problem of the people of far flung areas has been solved, the exploitation of solar power has also been encouraged in other places of the state. This has also reduced the electricity bills, a spokesman of the state government said here today.

After the constitution of Himurja in the State, the department has installed 89 small hydro units of 331 MW so far, which are of upto 5 MW. These small hydro units are contributing significantly in solving the power problem of the people.

Small hydro units of about 82.7 MW in Chamba district, 98.65 MW in Kangra district, 25.9 MW in Kinnaur district, 60 MW in Kullu district, 10.50 MW in Mandi district, 39 MW in Shimla district and 12 MW in Sirmaur district have been installed.

Himurja has installed 41 advanced gharats (grinder), 878 advanced chulhas and 17 wind solar hybrid systems at various places in the State. Besides this,  164803 street lights, 69935 lanterns, 27713 domestic lights, Off Grid Solar Power Plant of 3152.45 KW, Grid Connected Solar Rooftop Power Plant of 14425.54 KW and 20,24,000 solar water heating systems have been made available to the public by Himurja, the official added.

To ensure electricity supply, the state government has set up one kilowatt of grid solar power plants free of cost in 34 houses of Kunnu village and 40 houses of Charang village in District Kinnaur. Apart from this, 250 watt off grid solar power plants have been set up in the houses of one thousand BPL families in Pangi sub-division of Chamba district in December, 2020, so that electrical crisis arising due to breakdown could be avoided.

The Pangi area is located at an altitude of 7,000 to 11,000 feet, about 461 km from the Shimla. The state government has made a provision of Rs 3.83 crore in the budget for the area for setting up off-grid solar power plants for people living below poverty line.

The people of the region are happy with the setting up of solar power plant. Pangi resident Ashwini Kumar says that Pangi area is covered with snow for about five-six months, due to which the people of the area face electricity problem.

But now with the government is setting up solar power plants through Himurja, the electricity problems has been resolved. On the other hand, Neek Ram and Subhash Singh, residents of Killar, say that there was only one or two hours of electricity during the winters, due to which the children of the school had to face a lot of difficulty in studying, now the Government’s solar plant scheme for school children has proved to be a boon.

Grid connected solar power plants have also been set up in the capital city of Shimla. These solar power plants have been installed on the roofs of about 66 government offices in the city, which has reduced electricity bills in government offices. Apart from this, grid connected projects of 23.25 MW have been set up on the ground, which has provided employment to unemployed youth of Himachal.

The National Level Integrated Rural Energy Program was launched in 1981 by the Planning Commission of Government of India to solve the complex energy problem in rural areas. The program was started in Himachal Pradesh by the end of Sixth Five Year Plan.

The Department of Integrated Rural Energy Programme was established for the implementation of the programme. In the state, this programme was first started in the year 1984-85 in two blocks, Theog (Shimla) and Kaza (Lahaul-Spiti), after which the programme was run all over the state.