Punjab’s Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to direct Indian New and Renewable Energy ministry to review the program of Solar Pump for Agriculture and restore 80 percent subsidy.
Badal today wrote a letter to the Prime Minister and said that during the period 2000-01 to 2003-04 when 80 percent subsidy was being provided on these solar pumps, Punjab had installed highest number (1850) of solar pumps but since the subsidy was reduced to 30 percent, the number has dropped significantly.
As per new norms, 30 percent was given by the government while the farmer has to meet the balance 70 percent cost on installing solar pumps which is very high.
In the letter, Badal further stated that Punjab had more than a million agriculture pump sets and the power requirement for this sector is almost 25 percent of the total consumption in the state.
“The decentralized generation and utilization of solar energy in the agriculture sector for water pumping is the best option to promote the use of renewable energy which has long term benefits in terms of energy utilization and sustainable development,” Badal said, adding that the average size of an agriculture pump set in Punjab required about 5 KW capacity Solar Photovoltaic (SPV) array and the farmer will have the option to use DC motors or the existing AC motor by adding inverter.
“The approximate cost for this system is Rs 4.5 lakh and with the present level of 30 percent subsidy, the farmer was unable to meet the balance 70 percent cost which is more than Rs 3 lakh, hence it was not a viable preposition and discouraged him its installation,” he added.
Earlier, Badal taken up the issue with the Union New Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah when the latter called on the Chief Minister few days back.