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Friday, 19 January 2018

The Hindu Editorial: Towards Solar-Powered Agriculture

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The Hindu Editorial: Towards solar-powered agriculture

Title: Towards Solar-Powered Agriculture

(India must exploit the potential of this technology to help farmers meet irrigation needs)

• Maharashtra is solarising its agricultural feeders by installing solar power plants at the substation level, through competitive bidding.

• Karnataka is promoting solar pumps for existing grid-connected farmers under a net-metering regime.

• Only about 1,42,000 pumps have been deployed till date against a target of one million pumps by 2021.

• In India, is still rain-fed. 53% of the net-sown area

• Solar pumps hold potential to enhance irrigation access, advance low-carbon agriculture, reduce the burden of rising electricity subsidies, and improve the resilience of farmers against a changing climate.

• What can be done??

• Seven takeaways for the government to consider while promoting solar for irrigation.
  • (1) Target marginal farmers with smaller solar pumps, particularly in areas with good groundwater development potential.
  • (2) Couple solar pump deployment with micro-irrigation and water harvesting interventions at the farm and community levels.
  • (3) Focus on technology demonstration and deploy at least five solar pumps in each block of the country. 
  • (4) In regions with already good penetration of electric pumps, prefer feeder solarisation through competitive bidding over solarisation of individual pumps. 
  • (5) In regions with prevailing local water markets, promote community-owned solar pumps.
  • (6) Encourage sharing of solar pumps among farmers through farmer extension programmes.
  • (7) Provide interest-subsidy to farmers combined with reduced capital subsidy to enable large-scale deployment of solar pumps in a shorter span of time.

• Conclusion
• Such an approach would cover a greater number of farmers, helping them reap the benefits of solar pumps sooner, and increase overall returns to the economy. India must exploit the potential of this decentralised technology to achieve the dual national targets of 100 GW of solar and doubling farmers income by 2022.

• Vocabulary words:

• Exploit = Make full use of, utilize (उपयोग करना)

• Pique = Arouse (interest or curiosity) (जिज्ञासा)

• Ramparts = A defensive wall of a castle or walled city (दुर्ग प्राचीर)

• Bidding = Auction, command (बोली आदेश)

• Pilot = To monitor, direct (संचालित करना)

• Deploy = Position, station (तैनात)

• Resilience = Flexibility, plasticity (लचीलापन)

• Bottleneck = A point of traffic congestion (समस्या)

• Profound = Intense (गम्भीर)

• Spur = A thing that prompts or encourages

• Someone (प्रेरणा)

• Prevailing = Existing at a particular time (प्रचलित)

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