In order to provide uninterrupted power supply to the farmers for irrigation, the Karnataka government has launched the Surya Raitha scheme. Under the scheme, solar panels will be installed on farmers’ land for generating solar power to be used for irrigation pumpsets throughout the day without any power disruptions. The excess solar power generated can be diverted to the Bescom grid under the net metering concept and farmers will be paid as per the tariff determined by Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC), the Deccan Chronicle reported.
“The Surya Raitha, a pilot project, is a win-win for both the government and farmers. For the government, the power subsidy burden will decrease, while the farmers will get quality power, besides having an alternative source of income by selling excess solar power, said Karnataka Energy Minister, DK. Shivakumar while inaugurating the project at Harobele in Kanakapura taluk of Ramanagara district on Friday, the newspaper has reported.
Shivakumar said, “It is an ambitious project and for the first time, such a project has been implemented in the country. Bescom has initiated the pilot project on F2 feeder for 310 IP sets. It is financed by a combination of farmer investment, state government subsidy and investment from Bescom as interest-free loan.”
The Karnataka government has launched a cooperative society, ‘Surya Raitha Krushi Vidyuth Balakedarara Sahakara Sangha Niyamitha’ for the project. Quoting an official press release, Deccan Chronicle reported, around 250 solar-powered irrigation pump (IP) sets are successfully commissioned and connected to the Bescom grid under phase-1. With this scheme, the government will benefit by stopping the IP set subsidy and mitigating energy deficit. Bescom will benefit by reducing energy consumption, technical losses and failure of distribution transformers. Farmers will gain through increased agricultural productivity, continuous power supply and steady income from solar generation.
Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister, HK Patil said that the scheme should be implemented across the country. “Farmers can generate solar power and even sell excess power, which will make them financially stable. With this, many farmers can lead a happy life. The central government should take keen interest and implement such projects which benefit the rural population.”