Spotlight Activity: Policy Push for Solar Irrigation Pumps
The Government of India seems to have finalised a huge project worth 1.4 lakh crore rupee (about $20.486 billion) to promote solar power among farmers. The country’s Minister for New and Renewable Energy R K Singh said in the first week of June that the plan named KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahaabhiyan) (literally meaning a plan to conserve energy and empower farmers) would be rolled out in July and will provide farmers with solar water pumps. Under this plan, the government has plans to provide a total of 27.5 hundred thousand solar pumps to farmers: 17.5 hundred thousand standalone solar pumps and 10 hundred thousand grid-connected ones. The plan will help farmers install a total 10 GW of Solar Power Plants of intermediate capacity of 0.5 to 2 MW each. Further it also has plans for 50,000 grid-connected tube-wells/lift irrigation and drinking water projects. With this, along with slew of other plans that the government has already initiated or are about to roll out, India wants to over-achieve its set renewable energy commitment by 2022. India’s renewable capacity, the Minister informed, has been doubled to 70 GW in last four years and it is poised to over-achieve the target of 175 GW of renewable capacity by 2022, at 225 GW.
Status: Moving Forward
The majority of Indians are dependent on agriculture and both irrigation and power supply have remained constant challenges for them. Climate change induced droughts too have been exerting more pressure on the farmers in the recent decades. Solar water pumps and other related facilities that the scheme envisages can therefore have double benefit: 1. Help farmers adapt to losses due to climate variability, and 2. Meet India’s renewable energy targets committed under their NDC in the Paris Agreement. Climate Scorecard therefore gives this policy plan of the Government of India Three Stars and wishes that this policy comes into force this July, as announced by the Minister.
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Raj Kumar Singh, Minister of New and Renewable Energy
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