In a bid to harness solar energy in a big way, Himachal Pradesh government has decided to develop Shimla and Hamirpur as ‘solar cities’.

Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal announced this in his annual budget for the financial year 2010—11 in the State assembly.

Mr. Dhumal, who also holds energy portfolio, said that the State government was taking all necessary steps to harness solar energy with the assistance of central government.

In the budget proposals for next fiscal, the Chief Minister said solar energy harnessing equipments will be installed on important heritage buildings in the state.

Two State-level energy parks are proposed to be developed at Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar Horticulture university Solan and National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur, he added.

The State’s energy corporation ‘Himurja’ has been making concerted efforts to popularise renewable energy across the state by popularising devices like solar cooker, solar water heating system and solar photovoltaic ligths.

57 solar cookers have been provided to potential beneficiaries upto December 2009. Likewise, 596 solar photovoltaic domestic lights have been provided till that date, sources in the Himurja said.