Haryana launches scheme for solar-powered irrigation

The newly announced Haryana Solar Based Tubewell Scheme 2018-2019 will enable farmers in the state to shift to solar energy, ensure adequate power supply, timely water for irrigation, additional income and will also reduce pollution to a great extent. The main aim of the scheme is make farmers the producers, as well as the consumers of solar energy.

Announcing the Scheme recently, Finance Minster of Haryana Captain Abhimanyu said, “Under the scheme, tubewells in the state would be linked with solar energy. The farmers will be able to utilise solar energy, as per the requirement, and also sell the surplus power. Through this Scheme, the government can easily achieve the target of doubling the farmers’ income by 2020.”

Linking tubewells, which pump water from the ground, with solar energy will also reduce the pollution level in the National Capital Region to a great extent, the minister added.

Under this scheme, which will be implemented in various phases, the state government will provide a power subsidy totalling INR 70 billion to the farmers. The action plan on how to provide power subsidy to farmers and other guidelines of the scheme will be finalised very soon.

Haryana is not the first Indian state to implement a solar pump scheme. Maharashtra is installing solar power plants at the substation level to power its agricultural feeders through competitive bidding, while Karnataka is promoting solar pumps for existing grid-connected farmers under a net-metering regime.

India has about 30 million farm pumps, around 10 million of which run on diesel. The Centre has set a target of one million solar powered pumps by 2021.

To power irrigating pumps of all farmers with solar, the Centre proposed an INR 1.44 trillion scheme in the latest Budget, called KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan). The government aims to replace all the grid-connected pumps with solar power and ultimately solarise every agricultural pump. Through KUSUM, the government plans to incentivise farmers to run solar farm water pumps and use barren land for generating power for extra income – up to INR 60,000 per acre every year.