The biggest victim of India’s solar revolution has been land – especially hundreds of acres in arid and semi-arid regions. When a large solar park is set up, a vast patch of land goes under the solar panels.
The Government of India has maintained that most such land is barren and unfit for farming. However, if India is to generate 100 GW of solar power by 2022, it is only a matter of time before agricultural land also goes under.
Recently, officials of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said they’re working on a workaround. “We are actively working on a policy to ensure that will give solar companies an option to have legal agreements with farmers wherein farming can continue if the height of the panels are increased,” Gopal Krishna Gupta, joint secretary at the MNRE, told The Wire at the India Pavilion at the recently concluded COP24 in Katowice, Poland. “We are simply giving [solar companies] an additional opportunity.”
It’s unknown if private companies are willing to take on the extra cost. Gupta added that the discussions were nearing their close, and that “we can expect it very shortly”. Read More