Rajasthan farmers benefited from solar water pumps: study
ICSSR-funded BITS, Pilani project also found a significant decline in the consumption of fuel in the agriculture sector
A scientific study conducted by Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, has found mismatch between investment in solar energy sources and employment generation in the sector, but has stated that the farmers in Rajasthan have immensely benefited from the solar photovoltaic (SPV) water pumping systems.
The study has also found a significant decline in the consumption of fuel in the agriculture sector. Scientist Krishna M. led the study as the principal investigator of a project funded by the Indian Council of Social Science Research for addressing some distinct aspects of renewable and non-renewable energy sources at micro and macro levels.
Dr. Krishna said on Thursday that his study had dealt with the challenges from the existing structure and composition of energy sources and carried out cost-benefit analysis of adopting renewable sources, besides looking into the levels of efficiency. The study’s results were drawn from a field survey of over 125 sample respondents conducted in two districts of Rajasthan.
A micro-level analysis indicated that the SPV water pumping systems had provided some direct benefits to farmers, including the saving from diesel generators.
“Farmers used to operate diesel generators for 6 to 7 hours a day, consuming two litres of diesel per hour. The use of SPV pumps has resulted in a drastic reduction of fuel consumption, which was also a cause of greenhouse effect,” Dr. Krishna said.
While the grid-connected electricity is supplied to agriculture sector mostly during the night, the farmers can irrigate the land during daytime with the SPV system, making their access to water easy. Besides, the SPV system has been found to be cost effective because of the State government’s subsidy and the beneficiary’s share is recovered in about four years.
Power supply to the agriculture sector in Rajasthan ranges between 5 and 6 hours a day. Facing challenges in the expansion of grid-connected power because of difficult geography, the Rajasthan government has been giving subsidy on SPV water pumping systems since 2011-12.