Centre’s plan may boost farmers’ solar power use

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The Centre has announced a ₹1.4 lakh-crore scheme for promoting decentralised solar power production of up to 28,250 MW to help farmers, according to R. K. Singh, Minister of State for Power and New and Renewable Energy.

The Centre will spend ₹48,000 crore on the ten-year scheme which was announced in the Union Budget 2018-19. Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan or KUSUM scheme would provide extra income to farmers, by giving them an option to sell additional power to the grid through solar power projects set up on their barren lands, the Minister said.

It would help in de-dieselising the sector as also the DISCOMS, he said.

India had about 30 million farm pumps that include 10 million pumps running on diesel.

‘Positive outcomes’

The Minister said the positive outcomes that are expected when the scheme is fully implemented across the country include promotion of decentralised solar power production, reduction of transmission losses as well as providing support to the financial health of DISCOMs by reducing the subsidy burden to the agriculture sector. The scheme would also promote energy efficiency and water conservation and provide water security to farmers.

The components of the scheme include building 10,000 MW solar plants on barren lands and providing sops to DISCOMS to purchase the electricity produced, ‘solarising’ existing pumps of 7250 MW as well as government tube wells with a capacity of 8250 MW and distributing 17.5 lakh solar pumps.

The 60% subsidy on the solar pumps provided to farmers will be shared between the Centre and the States while 30% would be provided through bank loans. The balance cost has to be borne by the farmers.

 

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