Gujarat government has announced a program called Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY) through which it would provide farmers with solar panels to generate solar power on their lands.
According to the program, a minimum of 5 percent of the total cost of the solar panels must be paid by the farmer and 60 percent of the total cost will be subsidized by the government. The remaining 35 percent will be supported through a loan that can be paid over the next seven years. The rate of loan will vary between 4.5 and 6 percent.
To qualify for this program, a farmer will need a minimum of 10 square for the installation on their land. A farmer can set up more kW solar panels in the farm but will not get any more subsidy for it.
The feeder used for this power will be known as the SKY feeder, and farmers will get 12-hour power during the day without any low voltage issue. Eight-hour power will be provided at night to other farmers.
The work on the feeder will start on July 2, 2018. The agreement will be in effect for 25 years, and the company responsible will provide free solar panel maintenance service to the farmers for 7 years.
Currently, the project is aimed at 2.6 million farmers with power connections. The solar panels given to them will be higher in capacity than they require so that they can also sell the excess power generated.
“This initiative will not only save power, but water as well, since farmers will lift water only per his need. This will also reduce the dependency on thermal power,” said Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat.
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.
Recently, the Maharashtra State Power Generation Company (MAHAGENCO) tendered 750 MW of grid-connected solar projects to cater to the agricultural (AG) feeder load of various substations across the state.
Image credit: By Meera’rah [CC BY-SA 4.0], from Wikimedia Commons