Tamil Nadu started harnessing renewable energy much before other states and its share is about 40 per cent (8500 MW), the highest share for any state. It is a pioneer in harnessing wind energy and has seen capacity addition reaching 7500 MW, again the highest in the country. After carving a niche in wind power, the state is seeing a bright future in harnessing solar power. The state government has already taken steps towards promoting it in a big way.
Tamil Nadu receives very high solar radiation, making it among the best-suited states for solar photo volatic (PV) projects. According to an official document, Tamil Nadu had about 158 MW of grid-connected solar power capacity as of July 2015.
The state government is planning expeditious addition of 3000 MW in solar generation capacity. It has sought funding assistance from the Centre for ramping up evacuation infrastructure and requested the Centre to enhance the MNRE’s capital subsidy for off-grid and on-grid solar PV systems.
The state has secured Centre’s nod to set up a solar park of capacity 500 MW at Ramanathapuram district and MNRE’s approval to set up small size parks of less than 100 MW.
The state is showing impressive progress on the rooftop front and has achieved commercial grid parity. Tamil Nadu is the largest state in cumulative capacity terms of rooftop installations of over 50 MW, according to renewable energy consulting firm, Bridge to India.
More power consumed by irrigation pumps
Renewable energy experts also point to the vast potential in using solar power for agricultural water pumps. Currently, about a fifth of total power is consumed by about 20 lakh irrigation pumps with total subsidy outflow of Rs 3080 crore. If these pumps are operated by solar power with an initial subsidy support by the government, it would save a lot of gird-power that can help tide over the shortfall.