Community solar water pump for small farmers
This programme provides community solar water pumps to smallholder farmers to increase agricultural productivity, reduce diesel fuel expenses by 20% and increase incomes by up to 40% in order to revitalise the rural economy and alleviate poverty.
Implementation time: 2 months
Number of beneficiaries per installation: 200
Impact areas: Agriculture, Clean Energy, Rural Development, Environmental Sustainability, Poverty Eradication.
A major driver of rural poverty is crop failure, especially among smallholder farmers, who represent 40% of India’s population. Agriculture has the potential to play a crucial role in economic development. However, it is held back by lack of access to affordable energy services for irrigating farmland. Indian farmers rely on operationally expensive diesel pumps and on rainfall during the monsoon for irrigation. Given the unaffordability of diesel irrigation and limited water accessibility using these pumps during dry seasons, marginal farmers experience declining crop yields and crop failure.
Use of traditional fossil fuels has an enormous carbon footprint and the large-scale adverse effects of climate change are already being felt in these communities who are also the most vulnerable to it.
Our community pumping solution enables smallholding farmers to access water for irrigation year-round according to a calendar that guarantees supply when they need it, including during dry seasons. Our tariffs reduce the cost of irrigation by up to 20% compared with diesel-powered pumps. Training of farmers on pump use and efficient agricultural practices, such as growing high-value crops, intercropping and multicropping, helps increase farm productivity. This allows farmers to increase crop yields by up to 30% and increase their income by over 40%, while developing new skills.
Each pump allows 10-20 farmers depending on landholding to access water on demand using a smart pre-paid card.
We installed our first 5 HP solar pump in Sarvantara village, Uttar Pradesh, in 2017, which is currently providing irrigation to 20 smallholder farmers. We are now planning to install our next set of solar pumps, to enable marginalised farmers, typically earning less than $2 a day, to replace their operationally expensive diesel pump with community-owned solar powered pumps to irrigate their land.
An investment of INR 8 lakhs will pay for:
Benefits to farmers include: