A recent article in the Hindu Business Line dwelt on how, in spite of its advantages, solar water pumps have hardly taken off in India.
The article quoted a figure of about a measly 25,000 solar water pumps installed all over the country when there are some 20 million grid powered and an additional 8 million diesel powered water pumps for irrigation.
The reason why the traditional sales model for solar water pumps have not taken off is because of their high cost, even after the capital subsidies.
In this context, the article referred to the Surya Raitha scheme of the Karnataka government under which farmers who install solar water pumps (RLS) can feed the excess solar power to the grid and they get compensated handsomely.
Under the scheme, a farmer can install a solar power-run pumpset on his farm with 90 per cent subsidy from the government. The government will purchase excess power generated by the farmer at Rs. 9.56 per unit (if the farmer has not taken subsidy); Rs. 7.20 per unit (if the farmer has taken subsidy). This programme is envisaged for the Irrigation Pump (IP) sets on the dedicated IP feeders.
Now, assuming a farmer instals a 5 kW solar water pump and feeds half of what it generates to the grid at Rs 7.20 per unit, that would come to about Rs 25,000 as an additional revenue per year.
Not a bad sum of money, especially if a state’s capital subsidies are bountiful enough.