Rural India has a water crisis, but that isn’t because there’s no water available – it’s because the fluctuation in electric power prevents accessibility when needed. The solution here is the Solar Water Pump: it runs on sunlight and costs the farmer practically nothing after installation.
We installed our first SWP at Birla Group Farms in February 2018, and in just a year, in Feb 2019, we completed more than 100 installations across the country. Now, only 3 months later, it gives us great pleasure to announce that we’ve doubled that to 200 SWP installations.
How does it work?
A Solar Water Pump (SWP) system comprises of Photovoltaic (PV) modules, a pump controller and a motor pump. The PV cell captures sunlight and converts it into energy, which is then modulated and regulated by the controller so as to supply suitable and clean power to run the pump.
The pump can extract water from an open well, bore-well, stream or underground reservoir. Typically, a 5HP pump can discharge 1,20,000 litres of water a day at 50 metres of head.
Solar Water Pumps are heavily subsidised by both central and state governments. As per the KUSUM Scheme, farmers will only have to pay 40% of the cost of an SWP from FY ’20 to ’22. The rest of the cost is split equally between the farmer’s home state and the centre. Subsidies were even higher between FY 15-19, and farmers were paying just 20-30% of the cost.
The progress has been immense: only 1600 SWPs were installed in between 1991-2014, and 110,000 were installed in between 2014-17. 1,750,000 SWPs are planned between 2018 and 2022. One of the most interesting aspects of the KUSUM scheme is that many SWPs will be connected to the grid, and help reduce the power generation burden on DISCOMs.
Our future plans
The SWP empowers the farmer and helps them control their produce. Similarly, the applications are plenty, as there is a massive scope for SWP installations across India – and the world. Our growth plan targets 50,000 SWP installations by the end of FY ’23.
Celebrating milestones gives us a great feeling, and the impetus to do even better.