According to reports, Mangalore Electricity Supply Company (Mescom) is mulling a project wherein pumpsets used by farmers can be operated using solar energy. As an initial step, a water supply pumpset will be introduced in Kanchinadka area and if this effort yields good result, there is plan to up scale the project in a manner that it will supply potable water to people in Padubidri gram panchayat in Udupi taluk using solar-powered pumpsets.
An initiative of the central government, the solar mission project is being implemented in many other states. However, the response to this is poor in Karnataka. Each solar pumpset costs Rs 7.5 lakh and farmers may find it a costly affair to introduce solar pumpsets on their agricultural land.
An official from Mescom told TOI that the company was planning to introduce solar pumpsets for irrigation purposes too in the coming days. At times when people are opposing thermal power plants in their backyards, in the coastal region particularly, solar pumpsets will be a green alternative. There should be good support from the government by way of providing subsidies and loan facilities to farmers to buy the solar pumpsets, said Umesh Nayak, a farmer in Padubidri.
Ramakrishna Bantakallu, president of Udupi Zilla Krishika Sangha, opined that it may be difficult for farmers to maintain solar pumpsets as the solar batteries will have to be replaced after few years. However, where there are severe power cuts, like in remote areas of the district, such solar pumpsets can be introduced, he said and added that solar energy is an ideal source of energy provided the government assists the consumers including farmers by providing subsidy.