Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, Sep 16:
In an effort to promote the use of solar energy by farmers, the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has asked the Odisha government to install 1750 solar power driven agricultural pump sets for irrigation and drinking water facilities in the state.
The MNRE has assured the government of Rs seven crore for installing the pump sets in the state. The ministry, however, has set a rider that if the government does not show enough progress to meet the target by December this year, the remaining amount will be reallocated to other states, which have made substantial progress.
The pump sets will be installed under the Centrally sponsored scheme ‘Solar Pump Programmes. The Centre has allocated Rs 400 crore to energise one lakh solar power driven agricultural pumps and water pumping stations this year.
The MNRE, which will provide 30 per cent subsidy for setting up the pumps, has also requested the state government to provide equivalent amount of subsidy to farmers for installation of the pumps.
“While MNRE would be providing subsidy to cover 30% of the cost of the pumps, we request the state government to provide at least equivalent amount so that farmers can afford the high initial capital cost of the pumps,” said Tarun Kapoor, joint secretary to MNRE in a letter to Odisha Energy secretary.
The programme will ensure solar panels are placed to generate electricity for running irrigation pumpsets and will also enable farmers to sell excess power generated to the government.
“Since farmers do not need power all 365 days, the farmers will be free to connect to power grids and supply power for which the farmers will be paid or given credit by the distribution companies,” said a senior official of Energy department.