The sun is shining a little brighter for the farmers of Mujkuva village of Anklav taluka, nearly 17 km away from Anand, Gujarat. A group of 11 farmers in the village have turned their backs on conventional electricity and have taken up solar to irrigate their farms. This initiative, taken under Mujkuva Solar Pump Irrigators’ Cooperative Enterprise (SPICE), was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 30, 2018.
“As many as 11 farmers in our village are using the solar energy to pump out borewell water to irrigate their farms. Most of them are irrigating for one to two hours a day, leaving behind surplus to be sold at ₹3.24 (~ $0.044) per unit. With this, every farmer is expected to earn around ₹6,000 (~ $81.68) per month. Moreover, there will be no electricity bill too. Prior to this, any farmer had been shelling out around ₹2,000 (~ $27.23) per month as electricity bill,” Labubhai Patel, secretary of Mujkuva Saur Urja Utpadak Sahakari Mandali Limited told Mercom.
The mandali that was formed with the help from the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), headquartered in Anand, is selling the surplus to Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL), a state-owned power distribution company. The farmers are currently using 15 HP water pump and the energy being generated from the 150 kW solar panel is around 90 to 100 units per day.
Elaborating further, Patel added, “This project has also put an end to our many sleepless nights. As per existing policy, the village gets electricity for one week during day (around eight hours), followed by one week during nights for eight hours. So, while we could irrigate our farms during the day for one week, the next week required us to stay up at night”.
Gujarat government has been rolling out initiatives to empower the farmers by generating electricity on their farms. Mercom has earlier reported Suryashakti Kisan yojana (SKY), a program announced by Gujarat government. Under SKY, farmers will be provided with solar panels to generate power on their lands.
In March 2018, the Government of India announced that it is preparing to launch the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) program which aims to solarize the agricultural sector using solar-powered water pumps and provide solar-powered electricity to rural areas.
Image credit: By Rajarshi MITRA (Flickr: Down on the farm…) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
Garima is a staff reporter with MercomIndia.com covering renewable energy news. Prior to Mercom, Garima worked as a journalist with The Times of India and The New Indian Express. She received her Master’s degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nottingham and PG Diploma degree in journalism from the Times School of Journalism.