Greenpeace came up with a brilliant initiative of the installations of solar based irrigation system at Purnea & Vaishali districts of Bihar. Looking at the poor irrigation facilities due to unavailability of electric supply and availability of abundant sunshine in the state, Greenpeace installed and demonstrated a low-cost solar pumping system that offers a huge potential to increase the agricultural productivity of the state.
Greenpeace has been campaigning for renewable energy in the state of Bihar over the last 3 years to create an enabling environment for the government to adopt renewable energy as a means of solving its enormous energy crisis. In an effort to drive the right solutions and get the right stakeholders excited and involved, Greenpeace organised demonstrations of the concept of solar based irrigation system which can bring about a transformation in the state, both in terms of energy and agriculture, as the state is predominantly agrarian and there is a huge amount of diesel being consumed by farmers to operate their pumping sets due to the lack or unavailability of energy in the rural areas.
Water pumps for irrigation in agriculture are an important aspect of energy use in India. There are over 20 million irrigation pumps in use in the country, these irrigation pumps account for as much as 20% of the entire grid electricity consumption of India and more than half of the pumps are run on diesel power due to the lack or unavailability of grid electricity. Even with the subsidy, the price has been escalating, and there exists a very real possibility that diesel subsidies will be partially or fully abandoned in the near future, leading to even higher prices. The sun, in contrast, is free! Solar-powered irrigation systems can be the right solution to the woes of the farmers not only of Bihar but also the whole country and bring about an agricultural revolution. This can not only solve the problem of unavailability of electricity for agriculture, the huge consumption of subsidised diesel but also increase the agricultural productivity and make the lives of farmers economically better.
Considering the grim power scenario, sustainable, nano solutions to power generation is one of the crucial ways to address these challenges of access as well as impact of power. More to follow on sustainable generation of power, leading up to Design Public Conclave. Stay tuned!
* Read the full article here. Photo Credit: Greenpeace.