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Consuming over 22% of India’s power consumption, agriculture contributes to only 8% of the nation’s revenue. The nation’s fields are irrigated by 30 million agricultural water pumps, with 20 million pumps powered by electricity subsidized by the government. Amid unreliable grid supply and increasing fuel prices, solar water pumping system offers a sustainable solution.

Solar power provides a viable alternate to meet power requirements of farmers during day time. With India’s abundant daytime sunlight, the pump sets can irrigate the farms during the day time. However, India’s solar water pumping system market is subsidy driven. The market also faces inefficiency in the form of high capital costs reducing uptake for solar pumps as compared to diesel and electric variants.

EESL Agriculture Demand Side Management (AgDSM) intervention

EESL is working to provide reliable solar power supply to agricultural pump sets through solar mini-grids. The renewable solution will make it possible for farmers to receive considerable revenue on monthly basis by selling the excess power to the grid for a period of 25 years. With sufficient and affordable irrigation, farmers will reap the benefits of increased crop yield. EESL will be providing star-rated pumps with VFD/Controller, and financing and installation, as well as free repair and maintenance for the contract period.

The pumps will require marginal upfront cost contribution and land contribution. The efficient, modern pumps will offer a longer pump Life, and high crop yield. EESL is also planning to form a Farmers Cooperative Society for better operation.

Benefits

Solar pumps can eliminate the dependence on DISCOMs and diesel generators. The mini-grid’s excess electricity can be exported to the DISCOM grid, enabling them to avoid procuring marginal power for meeting agriculture demand. DISCOMs will also avoids T&D losses & network augmentation. Farmers will be incentivized with a cash incentive payment for the net injection into the DISCOM grid. Replacing an estimated 20.27 million pump sets used in agriculture sector with energy efficient pump sets would result in annual energy savings of 46 Billion kWh, and GHG emission reduction of 45 m tonnes of CO2 annually.

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