With an aim to generate additional income for farmers, the Gujarat government will provide grid-connected solar panels to over 12,000 cultivators who have already taken regular electricity connections for irrigation purpose.
The grid-connected solar panels are being provided to farmers under a scheme called Suryashakti Kisan Yojna (SKY).
Besides earning income by selling additional electricity, the scheme will ensure 12 hours of uninterrupted power supply for irrigation purpose, said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani while announcing the project here today.
The scheme is a step towards realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of doubling farmer income by 2022, he said.
"Using solar panels, which will be connected to the feeders, farmers would get 12 hours of power supply for their pumps during the day time.
"At present, farmers get eight hours of supply, that too during the night hours," the CM told reporters.
"Biggest advantage of this project is that the farmers, after using required electricity generated from solar panels, can sell additional electricity to the government and earn good income out of it.
"In the pilot phase of Rs 870 crore, we will cover 12,400 farmers," Rupani said.
The project will roll out soon as the government would start the work on installing 137 SKY feeders on July 2 across the state, he said.
Giving more details about the SKY, Energy Minister Saurabh Patel said the government will give 60 per cent while farmers will have to shell out only 5 per cent cost of setting up solar panels in their fields.
"For the remaining cost of 35 per cent, farmers will be given the option of a low-interest loan, which they have to pay in seven years.
"During that period, we will buy electricity from them at Rs 7 per unit. For the next 18 years, we will buy additional electricity at Rs 3.5 per unit," Patel said.
The minister claimed Gujarat has become the first state to launch such a scheme.
"We have devised the scheme in such as way that farmers will get back their total investment in 8 to 18 months. After that, they will earn good income by selling electricity to us. In a way, we will be buying electricity from them for 25 years," he added.
The project would also reduce the burden on power plants dependent on conventional energy production sources, the minister said.
"These solar panels will be connected to the existing power connections taken by (over 12,000) farmers for irrigation. The meters will calculate how much electricity was produced and how much used.
"Income on additional electricity will be directly deposited in farmers' bank accounts," Patel said.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)