India’s agriculture sector consumes 23 percent of India’s power, and over 2 crore agricultural water pumps are powered by electricity supplied free of cost. While farmers must contend with unreliable grid supply, power generation reliability is vulnerable to the price and supply of fuel, essential for thermal power generation.
Solarising India’s water pumps
Solar power provides a viable alternative 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. Being traditionally subsidy-driven, the farmers face high capital costs reducing uptake for solar pumps as compared to diesel and electric variants.
EESL Agriculture Demand Side Management (AgDSM) intervention: solar mini-grids
We are working to provide reliable solar power supply to agricultural pump sets by setting up solar mini-grids. Solar powered PV pump sets can be used to irrigate the farms during the day time, thereby reducing dependence on diesel fuel. We will finance, design, install, own, and operate solar PV pumping on farms.
The renewable solution will make it possible for farmers to receive considerable revenue on a 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. We 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.
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 avoid 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 2.27 crore pump sets used in the agriculture sector with energy efficient pump sets would result in annual energy savings of 4600 crore kWh, and GHG emission reduction of 4.5 crore tonnes of CO2 annually.