Gujarat Solar Water Pumpsets: The Benefits and Advantages
In Gujarat, the power consumption for agriculture pumpsets is more than 20 per cent of the total consumption, which increases year by year, because the distribution companies (DISCOMs) are releasing approximately 1 lakh connections per year.
The issues faced by the DISCOMs with regard to release of agriculture connections are as follows:
- The power tariff to the agriculture category is subsidized and the subsidy burden is increasing due to the increase in conventional power costs.
- There are a large number of agriculture pumpsets using diesel, where there is no electricity connection.
- Due to large geographical area, huge infrastructure, that is, length of the HT line and transformer centre is required to cater power supply to agriculture.
- A huge waiting list of more than 3.70 lakh applications for agriculture connections.
In view of the above, to reduce burden of subsidy on the State Government, and to save huge expenditure on infrastructure, such as HT line, transformer, etc., and with a view to promote renewable energy, the State Government has implemented Scheme of Solar Water Pumpsets for agricultural pumpsets to be installed at various locations of DISCOMs from the financial year (FY) 2014–15. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is also providing Central Finance Assistance, i.e., Rs 32,400 per HP for AC Pump and Rs 40,500 per HP for DC Pump under Solar Water Pumping System.
For the implementation of the Scheme, the State Government had approved budgetary provision of Rs 50 crore, Rs 60 crore, and Rs 125.50 crore for FY 2014–15, FY 2015–16, and FY 2016–17, respectively.
Beneficiaries Criteria for Availing the Benefit of the Scheme
Registered, FQ paid, and FQ under payment for conventional agriculture connection beneficiaries can switch over their applications for solar water pumpsets. Farmers who have not applied for conventional agriculture connection can also register their applications for Solar Water Pump scheme. Scheduled caste farmer/tribal farmer is required to pay Rs 1,000 per HP only and all other category farmers have to pay Rs 5,000 per HP only for setting up the solar pumpsets as a onetime payment.
Source: Akshay Urja Magazine, MNRE