Bundelkhand Expressway to be the first solar-powered highway in Uttar Pradesh
- The 296-km long Bundelkhand Expressway will become the first highway in Uttar Pradesh to be using solar panels to light up the road.
Bundelkhand Expressway in Uttar Pradesh is all set to become the first greenfield expressway to be fully dependent on solar power. Operational since last year, the Bundelkhand Expressway will see solar panels installed across the highway, which will not only help in lighting up the road for commuters but also provide energy solutions for electric vehicles as well as homes along the highway. The state government plans to transform the Bundelkhand Expressway as a solar-powered expressway under the PPP model. It is expected to generate 550 MW of solar power.
The 296 km four-lane expressway has been constructed at a cost of around ₹14,850 crore, under the aegis of Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA), and can later be expanded upto six lanes as well. The expressway links the Bundelkhand region with the Agra-Lucknow Expressway near Etawah. It extends from NH-35 at Gonda village near Bharatkoop in Chitrakoot district to near Kudrail village in Etawah district, where it merges with the Agra-Lucknow expressway. It passes through seven districts, including Chitrakoot, Banda, Mahoba, Hamirpur, Jalaun, Auraiya and Etawah.
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To transform Bundelkhand Expressway into solar-powered highway, the state government has identified 1,700 hectres of land. The four-lane expressway is divided into two parts besides a dedicated service lane. Solar panels will be set up in the gap between two lanes measuring around 20 meters. This strip of land is currently being used for fencing to separate the expressway from agricultural land next to it.
Uttar Pradesh Expressway Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) has initiated the bidding process for this project, which will be based on PPP model. As many as eight solar power developers are in the fray including Tusco, Torrent Power, Somaya Solar Solutions, 3R Management, Avaada Energy, Atria Brindavan Power, Erisha E Mobility and Mahapreit.
Once operational, the solar-powered Bundelkhand Expressway can generate up to ₹4 crore through lease rent for the UPEIDA. The cost of energy generated by the expressway could lead to an annual profit of ₹50 crore.
While Bundelkhand Expressway is all set to be the state's first solar-powered highway, the state government could later replicate the same model in other expressways like Purvanchal Expressway, Agra-Lucknow Expressway and Gorakhpur Expressway.
Along with improving connectivity in the region, the Bundelkhand Expressway will also give a major boost to economic development, resulting in the creation of thousands of jobs for the local people. Work on the creation of an industrial corridor in Banda and Jalaun districts, next to the Expressway, has already been started.