News: Agri-voltaic system of 105 KW capacity was developed by ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur.
- This technology can increase the income of farmers by generation of electricity and growing of cash crops simultaneously on the same piece of land.
- Under component-I of KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha Utthan Mahabhiyan) scheme, there is a provision for installation of agri-voltaic system in farmers’ fields with a capacity ranging from 500 KW to 2 MW.
- Moreover, National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has also documented 13 operational agri-voltaic systems in the country managed by different solar PV functionaries and public Institutes.
About KUSUM Scheme
- The farmer focus of Budget 2018 has given a fillip to the farmer-oriented scheme involving decentralised solar power production up to 28,250 MW, known as Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM)
- The KUSUM scheme would provide additional income to farmers, by giving them the option to sell additional power to the grid, through solar power projects set up on their barren lands.
- If implemented well, the PM-KUSUM scheme can be the ultimate game-changer for energy security and the rural economy in India.
- PM-KUSUM consists of three components and aims to add a solar capacity of 30.8 GW by 2022:
- Component-A: 10,000 MW of decentralised ground-mounted grid-connected renewable power plants.
- Component-B: Installation of two million standalone solar-powered agriculture pumps.
- Component-C: Solarisation of 1.5 million grid-connected solar-powered agriculture pumps.
Benefits of the Scheme
- Electricity for agriculture is highly subsidised and is often termed as the main cause for rapid groundwater depletion and poor financial position of Discoms. This scheme will support the financial health of Discoms by reducing the burden of subsidy to the agriculture sector.
- The scheme will promote decentralised solar power production, and reduce transmission losses. For state governments, this is a potential way to reduce their subsidy outlay towards irrigation. Apart from it, the scheme will help States meet the RPOs (renewable purchase obligation)
- If farmers are able to sell surplus powers, they will be incentivised to save power and, in turn, it will mean the reasonable and efficient use of groundwater. This may also provide water security to farmers through the provision of assured water sources through solar water pumps — both off-grid and grid-connected.
- Another intended benefit of this scheme will result in the expansion of the irrigation cover by providing decentralized solar-based irrigation and moving away from polluting diesel. This should also fill the void in solar power production in the intermediate range between rooftops and large parks.