The scheme has failed to get the desired response from farmers as solar pumps are costlier.
Mumbai: After failing to implement chief minister Devendra Fadnavis’ ambitious scheme of installing 10,000 solar agricultural pumps in a year, the energy ministry has now decided to have feeder-based solar pumps. A decision to this effect was taken on Tuesday in the cabinet meeting. Feeder-based solar pumps will help save energy and farmers will not have to individually bear the burden of expenses of solar pumps.
Almost two-and-a-half years since the state government approved installation of 10,000 solar pumps for farmers, only 2,450 solar pumps have been installed till March. The scheme has failed to get the desired response from farmers as its solar pumps are costlier than those in neighbouring states.
Energy minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule said, “Out of the total electricity consumption, 30 per cent is used for agriculture alone. The government distribution company has to bear losses as farmers are given subsidy for electricity. By introducing solar agricultural pumps, we will be saving power and farmers will get it at a cheaper rate. We are expecting that the power tariff will be as low as Rs 3 per unit.”
The government power distribution company MAHADISCOM has taken the lead in installing solar pumps though the scheme will be implemented on the basis of public-private partnership (PPP). Feeder-based solar pumps will help a bunch of farmers get electricity. Sixty per cent of the cost of the pumps will be borne by MAHADISCOM, 30 per cent by the Centre, and five per cent by the state and end users.
The state government wants to replace 3,600,000 electricity pumps with solar pumps over the next few years. However, this will place a huge burden on the state exchequer, as solar pumps are cross-subsidised.