Electricity is a major concern in rural India, especially for farmers. The Government of India has come up with an original plan to address this problem. Instead of transmitting electricity to the farmers, the government, to start with, wants farmers to use solar energy to power their irrigation pumps. According to the January 2018 report of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, there are about 142,000 solar pumps in India. The government is planning to install one million solar pumps by 2021.
To achieve this, the Union Budget 2018 has allocated close to ₹48,000 crore to set up the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM). This programme will help set up more than 28 GW of combined solar capacity through these solar pumps. Additionally, to ensure optimal use of this solar energy, and to incentivise farmers to shift to renewable energy, the government plans to purchase the surplus power through electricity distribution companies. This proposal will almost certainly increase agricultural incomes and reduce electricity losses when transmitting power to remote rural areas. Analysts claim that losses from distribution could fall to about 12% from the current level of at least 23%. However, the feasibility of purchasing surplus solar power seems problematic. There is a need to address the issue of grid stability that this injection of surplus power is bound to create. Read More