IEEFA, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

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New Delhi: India’s target of deploying around two million off-grid solar-powered irrigation pumps is progressing slowly, with only one-eighth of the target achieved so far, according to a recent Institute report for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

“Solar powered irrigation is a huge opportunity for India. But, despite the many clear business benefits, the deployment of solar pumps has been much slower than expected, ”said Kashish Shah, report author and research analyst, IEEFA.

According to the report, the program should have accelerated the deployment of solar pumps, but by the end of the 2019-2020 fiscal year, a total of around 246,000 solar pumps had been deployed and only 8,900 of them had been installed. within 12 months of the program launch in 2019.

By comparison, the number of fossil fuel-powered water pumps in India stands at over 8.8 million.

“Solar pumps would also reduce the burden on dcoms of providing highly subsidized electricity to the agricultural sector. It could even potentially lead to tariff reductions for commercial and industrial consumers who subsidize electricity for agriculture, ”Shah added.

The report states that the main bottlenecks preventing the program from progressing were the lack of coordination between the government agencies of agriculture, water and electricity involved in the implementation, the difficulties for the farmers. and access to investments.

“When it comes to the implementation of the program by states, this is a unique case that does not suit all … Each state must determine which mode of solarization of its agricultural electricity demand – off-grid or on network – works better for them, ”Shah said.

The report called for a new boost on the installation of solar-powered pumps under the Renewable Energy Ministry’s PM-KUSUM program, which aims to add 30.8 GW of solar capacity by 2022, including around two million off-grid pumps.

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