The Punjab government has decided to solarise one lakh of the state’s existing electric agriculture tube-wells. This innovative idea will save approximately Rs 2 billion per year in power subsidies while also helping to conserve natural resources. The proposal for solarisation of one lakh grid-connected electric tube-wells was submitted to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India and the Union Government accepted it and further assigned the state a target of one lakh pumps.
With the implementation of this project, the state will reap four major benefits. First, it will reduce the burden of subsidy on the state exchequer. Second, it will reduce the demand for power supply. Third, it will reduce agricultural input costs. And fourth, it will save the environment by replacing conventional power with solar energy.
The Punjab Energy Development Agency (PEDA) has already requested e-bids for the selection of solar power generators for the feeder level solarisation of 25,000 grid-connected agricultural pumps. Also, the Punjab government offers free power to 1.38 million farmers in the state for grid-connected tubewell irrigation and provides a subsidy payment to Punjab State Power Corporation Limited of approximately Rs 70 billion. After solarisation of these one lakh tube-wells, the rate per unit would be much lower, saving the government Rs 200 crore in annual subsidies.