A solar power scheme to generate income for farmers from their unfertile land was launched last week. The proposal floated requesting applications for setting up plants with capacity ranging from 0.5 to 2 Megawatt would also benefit the discoms, and fulfil a long standing demand of small solar power developers.
As per the scheme under the Centre's Kusum programme, the farmers who have no money to invest can also lease out their land to private developers and receive an annual income.
“This is part of the decentralized power generation strategy where the plants would be located within 5 km of a substation and the power can be fed into the grid with a minimal or no transmission, said an official of the Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation which is driving the initiative.
The government is yet to finalise the rate at which it would be buying power from farmers or developers but sources said it would be around Rs 3.14 per unit which is higher compared to the lowest price of Rs 2.44 per unit which came through competitive bidding.
Officials at RRECL said the scheme would meet the shortfall of not having electricity during the day time for rural customers and will come with other equally significant benefits. Sources said the small developers who are unable to participate in big projects will get work thus creating new employment opportunities for locals.
Sunil Bansal, chairman of the MSME panel of National Solar Energy Federation of India said that Kusum is a game changer for the health of Rajasthan's discoms as it will reduce their losses substantially. The MSMEs and farmers of Rajasthan are looking to change their lives by investing in green energy and this will change their social life as they will be able to get power during the day.
While the Centre has approved 325 MW under the scheme, Rajasthan is planning to offer 500MW which will see hundreds of projects taking shape. Also, the government investment in such a scheme would be negligible as existing substations can be used for feeding and distribution of power.
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