Courtesy: MNRE Website / affiliates.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has initiated a five-year programme, Solar Pumping Programme for Irrigation and Drinking Water, in 2014-15 with an initial financial support of Rs 400 crores for the installation of 10 lakh solar water pumping systems in the country for irrigation and drinking water needs. The scheme is being implemented through the state governments that can either carry out solar pumping projects or offer finances through NABARD, commercial banks and other agencies to the farmers in order to encourage solar water pumping.
Nowadays, many states are offering subsidies to promote the use of solar water pumps. In its budget 2017-18, the Andhra government has announced the distribution of solar pump sets to farmers at subsidised prices. Also, the Haryana government has proposed to offer 90 percent subsidy to encourage solar water pumps among farmers.
The benefits to the Government are as follows –
- Replacement of 1 million diesel pumps with solar pumps would result in diesel use mitigation of 9.4 billion litres over the life cycle of solar pumps which translates into diesel subsidy saving of Rs 8,400 Crore and CO2 emission abatement of 25.3 Million Tonnes.
- Forex savings of USD 300 Million per annum on diesel imports for replacement of 1 million diesel pumps translating into forex savings of USD 4.5 Billion over pump life.
- Improved energy access and livelihood in rural areas
- Over a period of time, electric pump replacement can also be triggered leading to the path to substantial reduction in the burden on the electricity grid.
- Better crop yields that can improve agricultural output by Rs 2,000 Crore per annum or Rs 30,000 Crore over the pump life.