In Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel Monday gave a certificate of appreciation to Dhundi Saur Urja Utpadak Sahakari Mandali, a newly-formed solar pump cooperative in Kheda district for selling surplus power produced in their farms to the electricity grid.
Each farmer installed a solar irrigation pump in their fields by contributing a partial amount, with International Water Management Institute (IWMI) pitching in the rest. The solar pumps were connected to the power grid of Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited (MGVCL), and a 25-year power purchase agreement was signed recently allowing the farmers to sell back the surplus energy at a rate of Rs 4.63 per kWh equivalent of solar energy.
The current installed capacity of the Dhundi solar cooperative is 56.4 kW and the IWMI team plans to expand it to 100 kWp over the next few months.
Speaking at the occasion, Tushaar Shah of IWMI said, “We are excited that the government is recognising the potential of the solar irrigation cooperative model and supporting us. This concept will not only benefit the farmers by supplementing their incomes, but will also benefit the environment by incentivising farmers to conserve groundwater and instead sell the surplus power generated. If we solarise India’s 20 million grid-connected electric pumps that farmers currently use to pump groundwater, it would save the country around Rs 60,000 – Rs 70,000 crores of farm power subsidy as well.”
“Once full benefits of the Dhundi pattern of solar irrigation are recognised, we expect that the government and discoms will be willing to replicate it and offer farmers a more remunerative price for their surplus energy sales,” He added.