According to reports, the rate of electrification in India has not kept pace with expanding population, urbanisation and industrialisation, and has resulted in the increasing deficit between demand and supply of electricity, said experts of the Department of Soil and Water Engineering (SWE), Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), here on Thursday.
Dr A K Jain, Head, SWE, pointed out, “There is a limited availability/access to grid power in rural areas and the farmers have to rely mostly on hand operated and diesel operated water lifting devices and pumps. However, they are expensive to run. The farmers often run out of money buying fuel to operate their pumps before the crop is ready for harvest. To overcome this problem, solar water pumping system is an answer to the Punjab farmer.”
The experts, including Dr Rakesh Sharda, Dr Sunil Garg and Dr Mukesh Siag, said that India has been endowed with abundant renewable solar energy resources. The country receives solar energy equivalent of 5,000 trillion k Wh/ year with a daily average solar energy incidence of 4-7 k Wh/ m2.
This is considerably more than the total energy consumption of the country, added the experts, saying that most parts of the country experience 250-300 sunny days in a year, which makes solar energy a viable option. Dr Sharda said that the water pumping system operates through solar energy, available from the sun during day time.
Functioning during sunshine hours, these pumping systems are ideal for small and middle farmers to meet their irrigation requirements who do no have access to electric connection and use diesel pump sets, he added. Referring to the requirements of solar water pumps, Dr Garg informed that they need no fuel and little or no maintenance.
The system needs a shadow-free area for installing the solar panel. Their operating cost is less compared to diesel pumps and there is no dependence on conventional energy resources.
Clean and efficient, low labour, durable, eco-friendly, long operating life (20 to 25 years), non-polluting, simple to install and easy to remove, transport and store are some of the advantages of solar water pumps, highlighted Dr Siag. It will give freedom from power cuts and load shedding, he said.