Solar power generation is set to make rapid strides in Rajasthan with public sector banks acceding to the State government’s request to grant loans without collateral security to farmers for installing solar plants at their infertile or semi-barren land. The work was earlier affected as the farmers faced difficulty in getting bank loans.
The Centre’s PM-KUSUM (Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan) Scheme envisages income generation for farmers from their infertile land with the establishment of solar power plants. While the farmers can sell the power generated from the solar plants to the power distribution companies, the solar pumps can also be installed for irrigation of agricultural land.
Rajasthan became the first State to complete the selection of farmers for installation of solar plants on their land in July 2021 with the capacity exceeding the targets set by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation allotted 722 MW plants to 623 farmers under the KUSUM scheme.
11 plants installed
Additional Chief Secretary (Energy) Subodh Agarwal said here on Tuesday that 11 of these plants had so far been installed in the State. “The loans to be sanctioned without collateral security for the solar plants of half kilowatt to 2 MW will speed up the work and help achieve the targets set in the renewable energy sector,” Mr. Agarwal said.
Mr. Agarwal said the electricity generated at the solar plants would be purchased at the rate of ₹3.14 per unit for 25 years following the signing of power purchase agreements. The discoms will deposit the loan instalments directly with the banks and the remainder amount in the bank accounts of farmers.
The farmers who do not have money to invest can lease out their land to private developers and receive an annual income. The availability of power near the sub-stations will also help reduce transmission losses as well as expenses for expansion of infrastructure of discoms.
The Congress government in the State had adopted the solar energy and the wind and hybrid energy policies in December 2019 with the plans to develop a capacity of 38,000 MW renewable energy. The capacity to be developed under the KUSUM scheme will be of the order of 2,600 MW, for which the letters of award have been issued to 623 applicants.
Mr. Agarwal said the KUSUM scheme would ensure energy security for farmers, as they could generate revenue from their agriculturally unproductive or barren land. It would also help increase the production of green energy and generate employment in the rural areas and would later provide for solarisation of tubewells and lift irrigation projects of the government sector.