According to reports, access to energy for irrigation and other agricultural activities is an important issue for the rural Bihar. Looking at poor irrigation facilities due to non-availability of power and availability of abundant sunshine in the state, Greenpeace on Thursday installed and demonstrated a low-cost solar pumping system at Khalsa village in Bidupur block, barely 8km away from Hajipur, in Vaishali district. These low-cost solar pumping systems have a huge potential to increase agricultural productivity in the state.
This is the third village in Bihar where Greenpeace has installed a solar pumping system. The other two villages are Kalyanbigha in Nalanda district, where such a system was installed in April 2012, and Basaha village in Purnia district (September 24). “The system at Kalyanbigha is working successfully,” said an official. The low-cost solar pumping system will reduce dependency on power supply, said a spokesman of the Greenpeace India.
The system is lightweight and can be manually installed in any open well or borewell. It delivers 1,500-2,000 litres of water per hour for 6-8 hours on a sunny day. For better water management and maximum output, it is recommended that drip irrigation method should be used. The model fits well with Bihar State Micro-Irrigation Project (BSMIP) objective to encourage drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.
It was stated on the occasion that the pumping system runs on power produced by solar panels, without the need of batteries, and costs less than a lakh of rupees. Without any operational cost, it provides a cost-effective alternative to irrigation pump sets which run on grid electricity and diesel.
Manish Ram, campaigner, Greenpeace India, said the demonstration of the solar irrigation pump set at Khalsa village would prove to be a milestone in irrigation for small and middle-level farmers.