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Powering agriculture via solar feeders

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Author(s): Ashwin Gambhir, Shantanu Dixit Publication Date: December, 2018

This article discusses a novel ‘Solar Feeder’ approach being implemented in Maharashtra state to solarize agricultural electricity consumption. In coming few years, over 7.5 lac agricultural pumps will be covered under this program. Access to groundwater for agriculture depends on reliable and affordable electricity supply. This is an important issue as it concerns livelihoods of the rural poor and food security of the country. The availability of the electricity grid in every village coupled with the national feeder separation programme makes the solar feeder approach a cost-effective and rapidly scalable proposition which is imminently feasible across the nation. The urgent need for providing agriculture with reliable and affordable daytime electricity makes it imperative for the sector to adopt such an approach. This policy framework, a win-win-win situation for the farmers, government and discoms, offers a much needed farmer-centric yet fiscally prudent pathway for the power sector. A version of this article appeared in The Hindu BusinessLine on the 20th of December 2018.

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