Solar pump sets to generate income for farmers
Taking a cue from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, the Haryana government plans to introduce grid-connected solar pump sets and income generating scheme for farmers. To be launched on pilot basis in two districts of the state, farmers can use the free power for irrigation and sell the remaining to the power grid.
The state government will incentivise the farmers on the pattern of Andhra Pradesh, which is also running a pilot scheme and offering Rs 1.50 per unit to the farmers.The state government is considering to implement the scheme as a pilot project in Yamunanagar district (catered by Marupur feeder) and Karnal district (Biana feeder) with a target of distributing solar pump sets free of cost worth Rs 3.5 lakh-9 lakh each to farmers at an estimated total project cost of Rs 25 crore.
“As a pilot project, we are contemplating to replace 486 conventional irrigation pump sets with grid-connected solar pump sets. All beneficiaries will be able to export the solar energy to the grid. The move will not only reduce their dependence on grid electricity but will also act as extra source of income for the farmers,” said Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) director Dr Renu Phulia.
The current availability of solar energy in the state is around 320 days. According to officials, the scheme is a win-win situation, as farmers use the pump set for 150 days in a year and in the remaining 170 days, they can export the green power to the grid.
The proposed move will not only help the state government in saving the electricity subsidy, which is around Rs 1.02 lakh per pump per annum, but will also ensure availability of electricity to the grid. Besides, the farmers will also save ground water. Due to this scheme, a solar pump set is considered not only as an irrigation asset but also assured income-generating asset to the farmers.
According to officials, the biggest complaint of farmers is they get part of the regular power supply at night. If they switch to solar power, they can not only get the power during day time, but can also earn extra income by selling the surplus. This would also benefit power utilities with zero transmission and distribution losses. The state has around 6.5 lakh tubewells or pumps.
The state has entrusted global consultancy firm and World Bank to prepare the detailed project report (DPR), which is likely to be ready by next week. Once the DPR is ready, HAREDA will send the proposal to the state government for budgetary support for implementing the scheme.
Rs 25 cr Cost to state exchequer
Rs 1.02 lakh per annum Average power subsidy per pump
Rs 4.96 cr (approx) Annual savings to the state
The state has entrusted global consultancy firm and World Bank to prepare the DPR, which is likely to be ready by next week.