Raman Parmar, a producer of wheat and banana in Anand District of Gujarat, has become the first farmer to sell energy to the power grid from the solar panels that drives his water pump. Shri Parmar was handed over a cheque of Rs 7,500 for the 1,500 units of surplus power that was produced in his farm and was fed to the electricity grid during the last four months. The payment was made by International Water Management Institute (IWMI), which with the help of MGVCL (Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Ltd) a State electricity discom has set-up this demonstration project in the village, as a viable business model for farmers who wish to harvest solar energy and add to their agricultural income.
The solar-powered irrigation pump installed in Raman’s farm can generate about 40-45 units of solar power every day. This is huge cost saving for the State considering the fact that the farmers in Gujarat are getting subsidised power at an average rate of 56 paise per unit, while the State is buying one unit of power at an average rate of Rs five per unit, experts point out. “The biggest benefit of this technology is that I have access to electricity during the day and I do not have to wake up at night to irrigate my farm that is spread over 12 bighas (close to five acres). Secondly, there is a 50 per cent cut in my electricity bills,” says Parmar.
The cost of installing the solar-powered irrigation pump in Parmar’s farm is about Rs 8.5 lakh which has been borne by IWMI. The area of about 100 square meters that have been taken up by the solar panels is being used by Parmar to grow vegetables. The next step is to create a solar cooperative in the State by bringing together 40-50 farmers in a village. (www.newsbharati.com)
(July 19, 2015 Page :17)