The government is focusing on solar pumps as a way to battle irrigation issues as well as reduce carbon emissions.
Talking about the initiatives undertaken by the government in this field, India’s Minister for Power, R. K. Singh, said in Lok Sabha, “During the financial year (FY) 2017-18, a total of 96,376 solar pumps were sanctioned in various states for both irrigation and drinking water purposes, and 10 percent of the pumps were sanctioned to the states to be utilized for drinking water purposes.”
To make solar water pumps affordable to the farmers, the government also provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) of up to 30 percent of the benchmark cost of a PV installation under the Off-Grid and Decentralized Solar PV Applications Program, Singh further informed the House.
Recently, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) set ₹85,000 (~$1,244.85)/horse power (HP) as the benchmark cost for solar pumps of up to 3 HP DC capacity in general category states, and ₹93,500 (~$1,369.33)/HP as the benchmark cost for the same solar pump in special category states (north eastern states, hilly states, and union territories).
For solar pumps between 3 HP (DC) capacity and 5 HP (DC) capacity, the benchmark cost in general category states is ₹77,000 (~$1,127.68)/HP and in special category states it is ₹84,700 (~$1,240.45)/HP.
For solar pumps of 3 HP (AC) capacity, the benchmark cost is ₹80,000 (~$1,171.62)/HP in general category states and ₹88,000 (~$1,288.78)/HP in special category states. For solar pumps between 3 HP (AC) capacity and 5 HP (AC) capacity, the benchmark cost is ₹65,000 (~$951.942)/HP in general category states and ₹71,500 (~$1,047.14)/HP in special category states.
Singh also added, “The Government of India is formulating a program ‘Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)’ which covers solarization of existing grid-connected agriculture pumps, also enabling the sale of surplus electricity generated by solar panels. The program is under the process of approval and detailed provisions are yet to be finalized.”
Mercom had previously reported that under the KUSUM program, 2 MW of grid-connected solar power projects will be installed in rural areas . The program is also expected to provide for the installation of standalone off-grid solar water pumps to fulfill the irrigation needs of farmers who lack grid connections.
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Saumy is a senior staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering business and energy news since 2016. Prior to Mercom, Saumy was a copy editor at Thomson Reuters. Saumy earned his Bachelors Degree in Journalism & Mass Communication from the Manipal Institute of Communication at Manipal University. More articles from Saumy Prateek.