Gujarat Village Farmers Embrace Solar Water Pumps

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the launch of Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) and will provide ₹334.22 billion (~$4.69 billion) in central financial support. The objective of the program is to give financial and water security to farmers.

The program has been divided into three components and aims to add a solar capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022.

  • The first component under the program includes the installation of 10,000 MW of decentralized ground-mounted grid-connected renewable power projects.
  • The second component will be the installation of 1.75 million standalone solar powered agriculture pumps.
  • The third component is solarization of 1 million grid-connected solar powered agriculture pumps.

Under the first component, individual farmers, cooperatives, panchayats, farmer producer organizations (FPO) will install renewable power projects of 500 kW to 2 MW on their barren or cultivable lands. The DISCOMs will purchase the power generated from the renewable power projects at a feed-in tariff rate determined by their respective SERCs. DISCOMs will provide performance-based incentives of ₹0.40 (~$0.0056) per unit for five years.

Under the second component, individual farmers will get the support to install standalone solar pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP (horsepower). Solar PV capacity in kW equal to the pump capacity in HP is allowed under the program.

Under the third component, individual farmers will get support to solarize pumps of capacity up to 7.5 HP.  However, solar PV capacity up to two times of pump capacity in kW is allowed under the program. The farmer can sell the excess available energy to the DISCOM.

The first and third component will be implemented on pilot mode for 1,000 MW capacity and one lakh grid-connected agriculture pumps respectively.

The central financial assistance of 30 percent of the benchmark cost or the tender cost, whichever is lower, will be provided for the second and third component.

North Eastern States, Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands will get the 50 percent of CFA (central financial assistance) on the benchmark cost or the tender cost, whichever is lower, for the second and third component.

The program is expected to reduce about 27 million tons of carbon emission per annum and create 6.31 lakh job for skilled and unskilled workers.

Recently, CCEA has given its approval for the second phase of grid-connected rooftop solar program with central financial support to the tune of ₹118.14 billion (~$1.66 billion) to achieve a cumulative capacity of 40 GW projects by the year 2022.

This month, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy issued a memorandum requesting for views of stakeholders on the BIS standards for solar PV water pumping systems.

Image credit: By Rajarshi MITRA (Flickr: Down on the farm…) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons