Solar Water Pumps: Redefining the Lives of Farmers
Solar-Powered Water Pump solutions help farmers in transforming their lives by providing sustainable power and timely water availability thereby increasing their yield and income, writes Ramakrishna S, Chief – Products & Marketing, Tata Power Solar.
India has world’s highest arable land which is 17.5 lakh sq. km. With multiple hurdles around irrigation of the land, that include water supply, electricity supply, safety and security of the farm, the farmers have to go through a lot in order to fill the granaries of the Indian households. Currently, India irrigates through over 30 million agro pump-sets. Out of these, 22 million pump-sets are connected to grid, around 10 million pumps are diesel pumps, while 3,50,000 pumps are solar pumps, mostly deployed in the last 5 years. The grid-powered pump-sets consume over 18% of total electricity consumption and diesel pump sets consume over 5.5% of overall diesel import bill. In 2017-18, the annual electricity subsidy for agriculture alone amounted to over Rs 1.1 trillion and annual diesel import bill towards Agro-pump sets was estimated around Rs 0.4 trillion. As a country, India is one of the highest agriculture driven economies, making our farmers the front runners in the race. The agriculture sector alone contributes to nearly 18.33% of India’s electricity consumption. Deployment of solar powered pumps helps in reducing the electricity consumption & shifting that load to green energy.
With more than 75% of the population directly engaged with agriculture, it is safe to say that India is primarily an agrarian society. The government is taking all possible steps to support the Anna Daata (farmers) of our country. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) unveiled PM-KUSUM (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahaabhiyan) Scheme which aimed to add solar and other renewable capacity of 25,750 MW with total central financial support of Rs 34,422 Crore.
In most cases, the grid is available during night time. On the other hand, solar water pumps run on renewable source of energy and increases water assurance. Farmers will no longer have to go to the field at midnight which ensures their safety. Additionally, it creates employment opportunity particularly in the rural areas & improves the standard of living of the farmers. Installing solar water pumps can address this issue and bring them respite. With India’s ambitious renewable target of over 175 GW by 2022 requires installation of 100 GW of Solar. (As per estimations, deployment of solar water pumps can contribute substantially to India’s 38% of renewable targets which could be achieved by converting agro pump-sets to solar). In line with this, PM-KUSUM scheme aims at replacing all diesel pumps with standalone off-grid pumps and solarizing all grid-connected pump sets.
Under this scheme, the farmer benefits with the latest technology pumps powered by solar energy. This ensures that farmer can work in the fields during sunlight and thereby improve the productivity & quality of life. This is further aided by attractive subsidiaries from the Government. Solar Water Pumps program is a win-win solution for all stakeholders.
MNRE has envisioned success of this program on India-made components including solar cell & modules, solar pumps & inverters, etc. The scheme design allows farmers & beneficiaries to choose among the empaneled service providers. In addition, participation of manufacturers of solar modules and pump systems in PM –KUSUM programme highlights the reliance on contribution from domestic manufacturers.
With solar water pumps, farmers have access to high-quality power available for irrigation. These systems are portable & can be assembled at any preferred location. With growing utilization of these systems, the costs have decreased substantially making it an efficient, convenient and cost-effective solution for grid-isolated rural areas. Solar water pumps are a low-cost solution that enables farmers to spend more time increasing their income by growing crops, instead of ferrying water from miles away. Adhering with Government’s vision, businesses are focused towards building the solar water pump solutions. Solar-Powered Water Pump solutions help farmers in transforming their lives by providing sustainable power and timely water availability thereby increasing their yield and income. The system boosts the income of the farmers, reduces the reliance on erratic power, and increases water supply without incurring any fuel cost.