Rajasthan holds 10.5% of India with 15.7 million Hectares of land, but only 35 to 38% irrigated. Electricity losses are aroaund 45% and the farmers live in the remote areas so the electricity supply is also a big challenge.
Rajasthan holds the best solar insolation on earth with 6 to 7 kWh/m2/day with 325 sunny days a year. The state has the most attractive destination to harness solar energy especially for irrigation. Harnessing solar energy for agricultural sector is a big boon to the state. Solar energy is the nature’s free gift, it is environment friendly and can be accessed at the remotest locations. No transmission losses and uninterrupted supply in day time. There is potential to use solar energy for waste recycled water.
Solar pump project envisions :
1.Alternative for conventional energy in Agri. sector
2.Long queues for new electric connections avoided
3.Large investment needed by farmers (Rs. 700 cr for 70,000 new connections) avoided
4.Boon for saving precious energy and water resources
5.No need for electric transmission arrangements; no transmission losses
6.Large scale adoption of technology will lead to cost cutting
Rajasthan Government Initiatives :
1.Solar pump program at 14 Govt. farms during 2008-09 under RKVY
2.Pilot project of 34 solar pumps at farmers’ field during 2010-11
3.Training to the stakeholders along with regular MIS trainings
4.CM Budget Announcement for solar pumps: 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14
5.Large scale implementation began in 2011-12 in 14 district, commissioned 1675 pumps
6.Extended to 4500 pumps during 2012-13
7.Target for 2013-14 – 10000 pumps
8.Extensive publicity in field
Solar water pump sizes vary from 2200 Wp to 3000 Wp (20 – 75 m head capacity). Cost is Rs. 4.75 to 5.25 Lakhs with 86% subsidy (30% MNRE + 50% RKVY / State)
Role of Public Agencies :
1.GoI: Provided funds through MNRE, NHM, NMMI, RKVY, etc.
2.Government of Rajasthan: GoR permitted clubbing of subsidies under various programmes to 86% of the capital cost (30% MNRE + 56% RKVY). Horticulture Department fixed targets via CM Budget announcements.
3.Commissionerate of Horticulture, Rajasthan: Scheme conceptualised by PSHR with active assistance of the Commissionerate officials, in particular Agriculture Research Officer, Agronomy. Regulatory framework for effective implementation of Scheme was developed and active assistance was provided to the Districts for smooth implementation.
4.Rajasthan Horticulture Development Society (RHDS): RHDS and its district level functionaries execute Scheme. RHDS short-lists and empanels manufacturers-cum-suppliers of solar power water pump-sets.
1.Water access to un-electrified/ remote areas
2.Substitute for up to 5 HP electric connections
3.Judicious use of water through micro irrigation; integration with Renewable Energy.
4.Solar pump an additional asset for farmers adopting Hi-Tech cultivation, WHS, with drip
5.Wide replication will cut costs, within reach of farmers, with gradual reduction of subsidy
6.Demand to extend project in whole State at large scale