Tamil Nadu

Farmers shift to solar-powered pumps to irrigate farmlands in Ranipet

D. Bhaskara Pandian, Ranipet Collector inspecting the solar-powered pumpset  put up on a farmland at Sengadu village in Ranipet district on Tuesday.

D. Bhaskara Pandian, Ranipet Collector inspecting the solar-powered pumpset put up on a farmland at Sengadu village in Ranipet district on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: C. VENKATACHALAPATHY

Key farming towns like Walajah, Nemili, Arcot, Kaveripakkam and Arakkonam in Ranipet district have been witnessing a steady change where farmers are moving to solar-powered borewells to irrigate agricultural lands.   Sixteen farmers, mainly from Nemili, Arakkonam and Kaveripakkam, have shifted to solar-powered pump sets to irrigate their farmlands to cultivate paddy, groundnuts and corn, since January this year. Around 100 farmers have gone in for solar pumpsets in Ranipet district. “More marginal farmers, who have around 2.5 hectares, are willing to go in for solar pumpsets as there are no power cuts or fluctuations. As long as sunlight is there, power is uninterrupted,” said G. Ruban Kumar, Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE), Department of Agriculture (Ranipet). Collector D. Bhasakara Pandian inspected the solar pumpsets installed on farmlands in the district on Tuesday as part of attempts to encourage more farmers, especially along the Palar to move to solar pumps. Subsidies to farmers to install solar power plants on farmlands are also provided by the district administration where they can also earn by selling solar power to Tangedco.   Officials said that income of marginal farmers, who have switched from diesel to solar-powered water pumps, has increased as their expenses dropped by around 20% due to uninterrupted power supply and low maintenance. In fact, solar pumps on farmlands are provided free maintenance for five years by the district administration. “Despite high installation costs, I went in for solar pumps for my farmland to cultivate paddy as getting free electricity connection has been a challenge,” said K. Maruthu, a farmer in Nemili.   There are 5HP and 7.5HP powered pumpsets. Around 70% subsidy is provided for the motor pumpsets and solar panels by the district administration. At least one hectare of land should be under cultivation, including horticulture, sericulture and prawn cultivation to qualify under the scheme for provision of solar-powered pumpsets. At present, the district has more than 20,000 hectares of farmlands, mainly under paddy cultivation along the Palar river. Of this, around 500 hectares have solar-powered pumpsets. More farmlands especially among small farmers are being encouraged to take to solar-powered pumps in the district, officials said.

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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 3:44:48 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/farmers-shift-to-solar-powered-pumps-to-irrigate-farmlands-in-ranipet/article65457250.ece