Munuswamy, a tribal farmer of Uranduru in Srikalahasti mandal of Chittoor district, became the first in the State to get a new solar power connection for agriculture. During the trial run, the grid-independent solar motor generated 25 units of power a day.
The State government’s policy to provide solar power connections to the farm sector is aimed at bringing down power consumption as well as reducing carbon footprint. Uranduru, native village of Environment Minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy, has turned out to be the launch-pad for the green initiative.
Considered the brain-child of Energy Secretary Ajay Jain, the highly-subsidised scheme is taking shape in various districts, as the officials are working out modalities to issue solar panels to farm sector. “The connections are provided to farmers where the ground water is available at less than 250 feet. We have already motivated 200 farmers in the eastern mandals and received applications from them. We will fix 300 connections by March-end,” says New and Renewable Energy Development Corporation of Andhra Pradesh (NREDCAP) District Manager C. B. Jagadeeswara Reddy.
The motor works for 300 sunny days a year, between 8.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m., making use of the prevailing heat conditions in the State. Hyderabad-based Access Solar is executing the project.
Staying grid-independent eliminates the scope for electrocution deaths in the fields, while the other major advantage of power supply during daytime (from sunshine) is the reduction of scope for snake bites and attack by wild animals in forest fringe villages.
The disadvantage, however, is the nominal reach in Rayalaseema, where the water table has gone down beyond 1,000 feet. The government is actively promoting the scheme not just for the green component, but also to avoid the whopping Rs.30, 000 subsidy per 5HP agricultural motor per annum, which it incurs in supplying free power.
First published in The Hindu