Interestingly, TN, which had a policy for installing solar panels on the roof-tops of private and public buildings, is going slow on implementation.
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu agricultural power consumption is 11,406 million units a year and a total of 8,138 MW of solar power is required to replace the traditional water pumps with solar pumps, according to a report by Greenpeace.
The white paper ‘From Rooftops to Farmtops: Augmenting India’s Distributed Solar Goals through net-metered solar pumps’ jointly prepared by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI)-TATA Water Policy Programme and Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI) states that if solar pumps are to replace traditional water pumps in farms across the country, India could surpass its solar target of 100 GW by 2022.
The analysis was released at a roundtable conference hosted by Greenpeace India, GERMI, and IWMI-Tata Program to discuss steps necessary for the successful implementation of KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahaabhiyan) – a Central government scheme promoting solar irrigation pumps.
Currently, while the 60 GW target assigned for large-scale solar power is on track, the 40 GW target for rooftop solar power is still to gather momentum, with only 2.4 GW of total rooftop capacity installed as of March 2018.
Interestingly, TN, which had a policy for installing solar panels on the roof-tops of private and public buildings, is going slow on implementation. It is learnt a high-level meeting was held recently to install solar roof-tops in government buildings but a concrete decision to this effect has yet to be taken.
Meanwhile, experts are of the view that Net-metered solar farmtop installations are very similar to rooftop solar installations from a technical standpoint. While rooftop solar photo-voltaic systems take away high-paying consumers from the grid, farmtop systems will actually reduce the agricultural subsidy burden for India’s cash-strapped power utilities.
“Farmtops” are an excellent way to achieve target across country,” said Akhilesh Magal, Head – Advisory, Renewable Energy, Environment, and Energy Efficiency, GERMI.A preliminary assessment shows that replacing 100 per cent of all agricultural consumption in the next five years would require a total solar PV installed capacity of close to 150 GW. This is far more than India’s solar target of 100 GW by 2022. Even achieving a modest 10 per cent of this potential in the next five years would translate to a very significant commissioned capacity of almost 15 GW.