Agricultural transformation in India through solar pumps


A solar-powered pump is a pump running on electricity generated by photo-voltaic panels or the radiated thermal energy available from collected sunlight. Solar pumps are useful where grid electricity is unavailable and alternative sources do not provide sufficient energy.

The operation of solar powered pumps is more economical mainly due to the lower operation and maintenance costs and has less environmental impact than pumps powered by an internal combustion engine. It is mainly used for harvesting purpose. Solar pump system is efficient, more reliable and life time of the system is more than 25 years. A conventional pump requires AC power supply but Discom power supply is not reliable.

Solar powered water pumps can deliver drinking water as well as water for livestock or irrigation purposes. Solar water pumps may be especially useful in small scale or community based irrigation, as large scale irrigation requires large volumes of water that in turn require a large solar PV array. As the water may only be required during some parts of the year, a large PV array would provide excess energy that is not necessarily required, thus making the system inefficient.

Solar PV water pumping systems are used for irrigation and drinking water in India. The majority of the pumps are fitted with a 2000 watt – 3,700 watt motor that receives energy from a 4,800 Wp PV array. The 5 hp systems can deliver about 124,000 liters of water/day from a total of 50 meters setoff head and 70 meters dynamic head.

Expenditure to install conventional 5 HP pump is about 5 Lakh Rupees whereas expenditure for installation of 5 HP solar water pump is about 4.5 Lakh Rupees out of which Government supports 30% of the total expenditure as a Subsidy for promoting renewable and clean energy.

Government of India targeted 100 GW solar power installation by the end of year 2022 in which 60 GW is allocated for land based solar power plants, 38 GW is for rooftop technology and 2 GW is for solar pumps. By 30th August 2016, a total of 1,20,000 solar PV water pumping systems have been installed in INDIA.

Everyone has a responsibility to reduce their individual carbon footprint, and there are lots of ways to do so and use of solar powered pump is one of them.

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