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Solar power replaces horse power

According to reports, solar power panel helps a farmer to run submersible pumps at his five farms in different places in Palsana taluka of Surat district at affordable cost. Solar energy has emerged as an alternative to conventional power connection in farm sector. Instead of fitting panels at five places, Jitendra Patel, a farmer in Umbhel villages, has got a panel fitted to feed a 5 horse power (HP) pump in the trailer of his tractor.

He said, “This panel helps me run my pump and draw water from anywhere I want during daytime. I just need to take it to the spot. I no more need to depend on the conventional electricity which is supplied in the night to water my farms.”

Patel has incurred a one time expense of Rs 8 lakh on the solar panel. Against this, the yearly electricity bill is Rs 10 lakh.

Many farmers of Dudhala village in Amreli district in Saurashtra, too, use solar energy. They have been irrigating their 1,600 bighas of land with the help of solar power.

“At least 10 farmers have fitted solar panels in their farms in Amreli. We had fitted six rooftop panels for the farmers to run 5 and 3 HP pumps,” said Iswar Dholakiya of Goldi Green Technologies that manufactures and supplies solar roof top panels.

Farmers across the state are forced to depend on night supply of electricity to run their pumps. This sometimes damage crops because excess water is pumped out because of darkness.

“For farmers, initial investment in this technology is a concern. Still many have gone for it when they found that it was cheaper in the long term than the conventional electricity,” district agriculture officer G C Acharya said.

Dhiru Patel of Kamrej has also installed a rooftop solar energy panel in his farm. This helps run his two pumps of 3 HP capacity. “We ask farmers to go for roof top solar energy panel as it is cheaper and not troublesome,” Acharya said.

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