The Surya Raitha Scheme by the Karnataka Government to set up solar water pumps will be launched today as a pilot. The solar water pumps can generate excess energy and will replace the irrigation pump sets. First, 310 irrigation pump sets will be replaced by the solar water pump sets. These solar pump sets have 1.5 times the capacity needed to pump water and ensure 1/3rd of the energy is supplied to the electricity grid.
The Scheme was announced in September 2014 to ensure the power supply to the farmers in the daytime will not require them to turn on the irrigation pumps in the night. This will avoid wastage of power and keep the usage of water in check.
This project was financed from investments by farmers, subsidies from the Union and State Governments. It also received an interest free soft loan from the Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (BESCOM.) A BESCOM Official stated the loan would be recovered from the value of excess energy that is exported to the grid. Once the loan is recovered, the surplus amount will be credited to the farmers’ account.
A statement from BESCOM read, “The net metering revenues will be deposited into an Escrow account as per tariff fixed by the Karnataka Electricity Regulatory Commission (KERC). The tariff is used for loan repayment, generation-based incentives through farmers’ co-operative societies and a sum paid to a society for its maintenance.”
The period to pay back the load will be between 12 to 14 years depending on the amount of electricity generation and the pump set usage. BESCOM will also create a farmer’s cooperative, channel subsidies, loans, sign power purchase agreements for the next 25 years. It will also ensure power supply in the daytime to the pump sets.
This will benefit farmers to increase agricultural productivity along with steady daytime power supply and a steady source of income especially during the years of drought.