It will be a farm where Kashmir’s famous saffron will be cultivated, but also double as a solar power project that is expected to generate up to 10 megawatts of electricity for the Valley.
Jammu & Kashmir is set to have India’s first solar “agro-photovoltaic” power project — where a solar project will be set up on a 250-acre area (just over 100 hectares) that will simultaneously be used to cultivate saffron, ThePrint has learnt.
The project will come up in Pampore — known for high-quality saffron — and cost approximately Rs 50 crore, sources in the J&K administration said. The project is expected to yield saffron worth an estimated Rs 55 lakh every year.
The land, sources said, currently hosts defunct gas turbines from a power plant where LPG was used to generate electricity. This plant was discontinued as it was turning out to be costly and the turbines have been lying idle for the last 10-12 years, the sources added.
Work on the new project, they said, is expected to begin by the end of this month.
Speaking to ThePrint, J&K Principal Secretary for Power and Information Rohit Kansal confirmed the project is on the anvil. “We will try to ensure that we do not lose out on precious saffron cultivation land in Pampore, while simultaneously making use of the same to generate solar power,” he said.
“The Jammu and Kashmir Power Development Corporation is in talks with the Solar Energy Corporation of India to help us set up this plant,” he added.