Subsidy Offered to Farmers to Switch from Diesel to Solar Pumps

The move follows the launch of a new scheme for farmers for installation of solar pumps and grid-connected solar power plants with an objective of providing financial and water security to farmers

November 04, 2019. By Huned

In a recent announcement, the Department of New and Renewable Energy has said that farmers using diesel pumps can switch to solar ones at 75% government subsidy if they meet certain criteria on how they irrigate their fields. It has decided to offer this scheme for solar-powered pumps ranging from 3 HP to 10 HP. The administration noted that the use of diesel-operated pumps has been increasingly becoming an environmental hazard while adding to the declining air quality in the city.

Moreover, the cost of operations is also on the higher side, which puts additional pressure on farmers who are anyway struggling with profit margins from their produce. “To mitigate environmental and economic challenges, use of pumps working on solar energy is the need of the hour,” Additional Deputy Commissioner Imran Raza said. “Thus, to promote this environmentally sustainable irrigation technique, the Department of New and Renewable Energy has decided to grant 75% subsidy on 3 HP, 5 HP, 7.5 HP and 10 HP solar-powered pumps,” he added.

According to the department, the facility will be available to farmers who have dug a small pond in their field and use micro irrigation techniques like fountains or drips. “It is mandatory to have ponds in the fields along with micro irrigation techniques to avail of this subsidy,” Raza said. In case the department receives a large number of applications, solar pumps will be distributed through a draw system. Farmers can apply from any Saral Kendra or Atal Seva Kendra.

It may reiterated here that the Indian government has approved the launch of a new scheme for farmers for installation of solar pumps and grid-connected solar power plants with an objective of providing financial and water security to farmers. The scheme consists of three components:

  • Component A: 10,000 MW of decentralised ground-mounted grid-connected renewable power plants.
  • Component B: Installation of 17.50 lakh standalone solar-powered agriculture pumps.
  • Component C: Solarisation of 10 lakh grid-connected solar-powered agriculture pumps.

All three components combined, the scheme aims to add a solar capacity of 25,750 MW by 2022. Component A and Component C will be implemented on pilot mode for 1,000 MW capacity and one lakh grid-connected agriculture pumps respectively and thereafter, will be scaled up on success of the pilot run. Component B will be implemented in a full-fledged manner. States and discoms may allow setting up of solar or other renewable energy-based power plants of capacity less than 500 kW in specific cases. The power plants will be preferably installed within 5 km radius of the sub-stations in order to avoid high cost of sub-transmission lines and losses.

The discoms companies will notify sub-station-wise generation capacity which can be fed from such plants to the grid through a particular sub-station. The power generated will be purchased by the discoms at a feed-in-tariff (FiT) determined by respective State Electricity Regulatory Commission (SERC) for which PPA will be signed by the discom for a period of 25 years. In case, the aggregate capacity offered by applicants is more than the notified capacity for a particular sub-station, a bidding route will be followed to select power generators as per guidelines issued by MNRE and in such cases the FiT will be the ceiling tariff for bidding.

The power projects under the scheme would be implemented on any land, including agricultural lands where solar plants may be installed in stilt fashion and with adequate spacing between panel rows for ensuring that farming activity is not affected. The bidding may be renewable energy source agnostic, with the evaluation parameter being the tariff offered, irrespective of the renewable energy source i.e. ground or stilt-mounted solar, wind, bio-mass, waste to energy or small hydro. The farmer or other eligible bidders would be free to adopt any renewable energy source or technology while responding to the bid.

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