Solar Water Pump Systems Can Boost Agriculture in India
Each second is a missed opportunity. Every day, an enormous amount of solar energy arrives on our planet. What solar power engineers propose is that we should correctly exploit the solar energy in order to fulfill out growing energy demands that affect every country, especially developing ones – like India.
A single rooftop system could be enough to power a house or fulfill the needs of an industry or farm land, contributing to rural development.
July 2012 was a critical month. During this period, more than 670 million people faced the largest blackout ever registered in India. That is almost half of India’s population and 9% of the world’s total population.
Human beings and their economic activities depend on energy supplies. In this article, we answer the question: how a product like a solar water pump and solar energy in general can save India’s farmers?
Read it now and find out what are the main problems experienced by people who dedicate their life to agriculture and our sustenance. At the same time, you can learn how solar energy is the solution to electricity problems in India.
Understand the potential of solar energy
First of all, we challenge you to imagine an energy source that can transform an arid land into a fertile land hosting a huge crop. Using photovoltaics, that dream scenario is closer to reality. An initial investment is required, no doubt, but after the system’s installation the energy obtained is free and ready to solve any irrigation problem.
From its independence in 1947, India has grown tremendously to become the 10th largest economy of the world. The secret behind the country’s exponential growth is the great production of agricultural products, later transformed by a big industrial sector and then exported.
Though the potential of solar energy impacts every sector, some specialists argue that the priority should be agriculture, India’s primary sector. A simple conversion of the traditional diesel fueled water pumps into solar water pump systems would bring enormous benefits to agriculture and trigger India’s development.
Why use a solar water pump in your farmland?
Official reports indicate that India has over 25 million water pumps, more than any other country in the world. At the beginning of 2014, Bloomberg reported that the government was going to swap the systems by applying a more sustainable solution. “Irrigation pumps may be the single largest application for solar in the country”, stated Tarum Kapoor, the joint secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
In some cases the subsidy given by the government can pay more than 86% of the costs of changing over to a new solar water pump. What you might not know is that, with the exponential decrease in the price of solar technologies, it would take an average of only 4 years for the farmer to recover his initial investment
Ravi Kant’s story with a solar water pump
Ravi Kant is a farmer and lives in Bihar, in a rural area close to the border of Nepal. The enterprising Indian has recently invested in a solar water pump, powered by 6 solar panels. Before the installation he used to rent a diesel fuelled pump. In his own words, the water discharge “was never strong” and he had to rent a van to go to the city and buy more fuel.
The energy obtained from the sunlight allows the system to extract water from the ground whenever he needs it. In the Winter, during the cloudiest days — when the sun radiation is not that strong — he is still able to irrigate for at least two hours, enough time to get the job done.
The rice and wheat farmer is just one of the many Indians who have chosen to change their systems to more sustainable and reliable ones. However, despite the fruitful investment in solar energy, a great majority of water pump owners still use traditional power irrigating systems, powered by diesel and electricity.
Farmer’s free electricity subsidy
Aiming to help farmers, India created a subsidy that promotes the development of the first sector of activity. Farmers are given access to an electricity network that grants them free energy, during a few hours of the day. Unfortunately, the energy supply is either too limited or is available only during night.
Besides the obvious inconvenience, farmers that depend on the free network often have to work during the night, risking their own lives. India is a natural habitat for some deadliest species of snakes and vipers, and are responsible for the death of many in rural areas.
Some experts criticize the government measure, saying that this is not the correct direction to go in. Instead of presenting a sustainable solution, the free electricity subsidy incentives farmers to take as much water out of the subsoil as possible.
Data from KPMG shows that the installation of solar water pump systems can change the Indian agricultural scenes: crops shall produce 10% to 15% more and farmers will be able to expand their own businesses, investing in more profitable products like potatoes or tomatoes.
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