Punjab National Bank (PNB) has signed a MoU with SwitchON Foundation, a West Bengal-based not-for-profit organisation to facilitate solar pump financing for small and marginal farmers. According to the agreement, SwitchON Foundation will set up a first loss default guarantee fund through which PNB will finance the projects.With the creation of the fund, PNB will offer better terms of finance. It willoﬀera payback period of seven years and a zero down payment for loans up to Rs 160,000. Meanwhile,SwitchON Foundation will conduct farmer sensitisation, awareness drives, and farmer due diligence before finalisingthe loan disbursal.
Many developments have taken place recently in the solar pump sector. In January 2021, Energy Efficiency Services Limited invited bids for the development of 317,975 off-grid solar water pumps across 30 states and five union territories under Component B of the PM-KUSUM programme. Under this tender, the developers will be required to carry out the design, manufacture, supply, transport, installation, testing, commissioning, and repair and maintenance for five years of the solar pumps. Only domestically manufactured modules must be used under the scheme and the pumps must meet the technical standards laid down by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
In the same month, the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency issued an EoI for conducting feasibility surveys and inspection of solar pumps set up under Component B of the PM-KUSUM programme in the state. In addition to conducting feasibility tests, the bidders will be responsible for verifying online application documents, conducting technical inspections and verifying installed pump sets, and testing the pumps.