Bengaluru: The Surya Raitha, a pilot project, is a win-win for both the government and farmers. For the government, the power subsidy burden will decrease, while the farmers will get quality power, besides having an alternative source of income by selling excess solar power, said Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar inaugurating the project at Harobele in Kanakapura taluk of Ramanagara district on Friday.
Under the scheme, solar panels will be installed on farmers’ land, which generate solar power to be used for irrigation pumpsets throughout the day without any power disruptions. The excess solar power generated can be diverted to the Bescom grid under the net metering concept and farmers will be paid as per the KERC-determined tariff.
Shivakumar said, “It is an ambitious project and for the first time, such a project has been implemented in the country. Bescom has initiated the pilot project on F2 feeder for 310 IP sets. It is financed by a combination of farmer investment, state government subsidy and investment from Bescom as interest-free loan.” An official press release stated that a cooperative society, ‘Surya Raitha Krushi Vidyuth Balakedarara Sahakara Sangha Niyamitha’, has been launched for the project. Around 250 solar-powered IP sets are successfully commissioned and connected to the Bescom grid under phase-1. With this scheme, the government will benefit by stopping the IP set subsidy and mitigating energy deficit. Bescom will benefit by reducing energy consumption, technical losses and failure of distribution transformers. Farmers will gain through increased agricultural productivity, improvement of water table, continuous power supply and steady income from solar generation.
Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister H.K. Patil said that the scheme should be implemented across the country. “Farmers can generate solar power and even sell excess power, which will make them financially stable. With this, many farmers can lead a happy life. The central government should take keen interest and implement such projects which benefit the rural population.”
He said that the government is working on eradicating open defecation. “Till now, 20 districts are free from open defecation and next year, we will work towards making the entire state open-defecation free,” he said.
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