KUSUM scheme for solar uptake by farmers
The government of India has published the guidelines for the implementation of Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme for installation of solar pumps and grid-connected solar power plants by farmers.
Under the scheme, the government has planned to develop decentralized solar energy and other renewable energy generation plants of capacity up to 2 Megawatt (MW). This would enable savings in transmission system requirement and also bring down T&D losses. The government will continue to implement large scale solar power projects in order to achieve its target of 100 Gigawatt (GW) from solar energy by 2022.
Currently, over 30 million agricultural pumps are installed in India. Of these, 10 million pumps are diesel based. Over 20 million grid-connected agriculture water pumps installed in the country consume 17 per cent of the total annual electricity consumption.
Solarization of these pumps is expected to reduce their dependence on conventional sources of energy supplied by discoms and thus reduce their burden of subsidy on agriculture consumption of electricity. This will also provide an additional source of income to farmers who will be in a position to sell the surplus power to DISCOMs.
The solar pump scheme has three major components. Under component A, the government plans to establish 10,000 Mw of decentralized ground or stilt mounted grid-connected solar or other renewable energy based power plants. Component B includes installation of 17.50 lakh standalone solar agricultural pumps while component C deals with solarisation of 10 Lakh grid-connected agriculture pumps.
The components A and C will be implemented initially on pilot mode for 1,000 Mw capacity and 1 lakh grid-connected agriculture pumps, respectively. Component B will be implemented in a full-fledged manner with total central support of Rs 19,036 crore.
After successful implementation of the pilot project of components A and C, they will be scaled up with necessary modifications based on the learning from the pilot phase with total central support of Rs 15,385 crore. All the three components of the scheme aim to add solar capacity of 25,750 Mw by 2022 with total central financial support of Rs 34,422 crore.
Component A Under component A, solar or other Renewable Energy-based Power Plants (REPP) of capacity between 500 kilowatts (Kw) and 2 Mw will be set up by individual farmers or group of farmers or cooperatives or panchayats or Farmer Producer Organisations (FPO). Power discoms may allow setting up of solar or other renewable energy based power plants of capacity less than 500 kW in specific cases.
The DISCOMs will notify sub-station wise surplus capacity which can be fed from such REPPs to the grid and invite applications from interested beneficiaries for setting up the renewable energy plants.
For the selection and implementation of decentralised renewable energy power plants, the discoms will invite 33/11 kV sub-station wise Expression of Interest (EoI) for short-listing of Renewable Power Generator (RPG) to participate in the selection process.
The selected RPG shall commission the solar power plant within 9 months from the date of issuance of Letter of Awards (LoA). A committee of discom officials will physically inspect and certify successful commissioning of the plant.
Component B Under component B, individual farmers will be supported to install standalone solar agriculture pumps of capacity up to 7.5 horsepower (HP) for replacement of existing diesel agriculture pumps in off-grid areas. Pumps of capacity higher than 7.5 HP may be allowed but the Central Financial Assistance will be limited to the CFA applicable for the pump of 7.5 HP.
State-wise allocation of solar pumps will be issued by MNRE once in a year, after approval by a screening committee under the chairmanship of MNRE secretary.
Projects for installation of solar agriculture pumps systems will be completed within 12 months from the date of sanction by MNRE. However, for North Eastern States including Sikkim, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Lakshadweep and A&N Islands this time limit will be 15 months from the date of sanction.
Funds up to 25 per cent of the MNRE benchmark cost or cost discovered through tenders, whichever is less, for the sanctioned quantity would be released as advance to the implementing agency only after placement of letter of award to the selected vendors. The selected vendors will be responsible for design, supply, installation and commissioning of solar agriculture pumps.
Component C Under component C, individual farmers with grid-connected agriculture pumps will be supported. Solar PV capacity of up to 2 times the pump capacity in Kw is allowed under the scheme.
State-wise allocation for solarisation of pumps will be issued by MNRE once in a year, after approval by a screening committee. In the beginning of every financial year during the scheme tenure, MNRE will call for submission of feeder-wise demand for solarisation.
As under Component B, the projects for solarisation of pumping systems will be completed within 12 months from the date of sanction by MNRE and the funds up to 25 per cent of the MNRE benchmark cost or cost discovered through tenders, whichever is less, would be released as advance to the implementing agency only after placement of letter of award to the selected vendors.
As per the guidelines, the systems installed under this programme should meet technical specification and construction standards as specified by BIS and MNRE and the pumps installed under the scheme should have a minimum of 4 star rating.