More than 181,000 solar power pumps have been installed in the country over the past three years for meeting the electricity demand for irrigation under the Pradhan-Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan (PM-KUSUM) scheme being implemented by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
“The area of land brought under irrigation through these solar pumps depends upon several factors including capacity of pump, type of crop, and ground water level. In general, a 5 horsepower (HP) capacity solar water pump linked with micro irrigation system covers an area of 2.5 hectares for irrigation," power and renewable energy minister R K Singh said in a written reply in Parliament.
He also said under the scheme priority would be given to small and marginal farmers for installation of solar water pumps up to 7.5 HP capacity for which central financial assistance (CFA) of 30 per cent of the benchmark cost of the stand-alone solar pump will be provided.
MNRE had issued approval for implementation of PM-KUSUM scheme throughout the country in March. The scheme has three components providing for; installation of 10,000 megawatt (MW) capacity through renewable energy-based small power plants of 2 Mw capacity each in the rural areas; installation of 1.7 million off-grid solar water pumps; and solarization of 1 million existing grid-connected agriculture pumps.
The scheme is targeted to meet the desired targets by 2022. The ministry recently issued guidelines for existing 1 million grid-connected solar power pumps under the "Component C" of the scheme.
Under this component, 1 million agriculture pumps of 7.5 HP capacity each are planned to be solarised by 2022. As per provisions of the scheme, initially 100,000 grid-connected pumps are targeted to be solarised on pilot basis and further scale-up will be carried out after the evaluation of the pilot phase.
The scheme is aimed at providing support to individual farmers with grid-connected agriculture pumps so that they can use the power to meet their irrigation needs and generate additional income by selling surplus solar power to discoms.