When the solar panels quietly began to generate power in December last year, 38-year-old Mallika Arjun finally heard wedding bells. A farmer neck-deep in debt, he had been unable to find a family to accept him as a groom for their daughter.
Arjun was amongst the first farmers to lease their land to the government for the 13,000-acre solar park coming up in Pavagada, around 200 km north of Bengaluru. After leasing ten acres, his fortune changed almost immediately. “I got more than Rs 6 lakhs for the land I leased. With this money, I could get married and pay off my loans. I have another ten acres which I am ready to give if they want it,” he said, standing beside his brand new motorcycle.
With the failure and unpredictability of rains over the last few years, farming in Pavagada has turned financially unviable – making farmers more than willing to give away their land.
The solar park in Pavagada is part of India’s ambitious plan to generate 227GW of electricity from renewable energy by 2022. Of this, solar will contribute about 113GW. Read More