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AP set to turn into solar energy hub

Visakhapatnam:  Having set an ambitious target of adding a minimum total solar power capacity of 5,000 mw in the next five years, Andhra Pradesh is now turning into a major hub for solar energy manufacturing facilities in the country.

Major players including Essel Infraprojects, Golden Concord Holdings, Trina Solar Science and Technology Energy and Xi’an Longi Silicon Materials Corporation are already at various stages of setting up manufacturing facilities in AP with an estimated investment of around Rs 18,200 crore and employment opportunities for around 19,000 people. According to industries department sources, several other firms are also keen on investments in AP and expected to head to the state in the coming months.

“The government is looking at promoting solar energy in the state considering that AP has a natural advantage in terms of the weather wherein nearly 300 days are sunny in the state. AP will aim to become the renewable energy manufacturing hub for India by the turn of this decade,” said an industries department official.

Explaining the huge market available for manufacturers in the state, he said already two major solar parks have been planned – one at Anantapur with a proposed capacity of 1500 mw and another at Kurnool with a capacity of 1000 mw. Apart from these, the government is also keen on solar power rooftop systems for individual households and solar power pumpsets for irrigation and energy banks, the official added.

In addition to these, the advantage of ports also gives AP an advantage of turning into a hub for exporting solar energy products, said another industries department official, adding that as per the solar power policy, the government gives priority in land allotment for solar parks on long-term lease basis and also exemption from electricity duty for a period of 10 years.

Speaking to TOI, chairman of National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) Pranav Mehta said, “India has a large potential of about 10,0000 mw and all of these have the potential to be manufactured in the country itself. The manufacturing units in India at present do not have large scale capacities and the need of the hour is to bring down cost and improve quality.”
Furthermore, apart from catering to the domestic market, he said, “India can be a manufacturing hub in this region. Besides, there is going to be a huge demand for solar power in the Middle East in countries such as UAE and Saudi Arabia.”

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