Solar powered PV pump set to revolutionise agriculture in Bihar

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Press release - April 11, 2012
Patna April 12, 2012: Access to energy for irrigation and agricultural activities is an important issue for the rural Bihar. Looking at the poor irrigation facilities due to unavailability of electric supply and availability of abundant sunshine in the state, Greenpeace today installed and demonstrated a low-cost solar pumping system at the native village Kalyan Bigha of Hon’ble CM of Bihar Shree Nitish Kumar. These low cost solar pumping systems offer a huge potential to increase the agricultural productivity of the state.

Agriculture sector has critical role to play in overall development of state. In fact 81 %[i] of the state population is largely dependent on agriculture. This contributes 42%[ii] to the State Domestic product. The low cost solar PV pumping system will reduce the dependency on erratic power supply which results in poor irrigation systems.

"In the recently announced agriculture roadmap, insurance of a truly pioneering "Rainbow Revolution" will remain an unfulfilled dream without the focus on proper irrigation system," says Arpana Udupa, Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace India. She further said -"It is quite apparent that a strong political will and an enabling framework with focus on low cost solar pump set will take Bihar towards inclusive growth. The state must work towards ensuring secure irrigation system to put Bihar on world map as champion of Rainbow Revolution. This can be achieved only through renewable energy."

While welcoming the demonstration Awadhesh Kumar Verma, Mukhiya of Kalyan Bigha emphasized that such initiatives should be supported by government to save cost on expensive and polluting diesel. He said that "such technologies will make us self-sustaining with regards to water and electricity."

The solar PV pumping system is light-weight and can be manually installed in any open well or bore well. It delivers 1500-2000 liters of water per hour for 6-8 hours on a sunny day. For better water management and maximum output, it is recommended that drip irrigation method should be used. The model fits well with Bihar State Micro-Irrigation Project (BSMIP) objective to encourage drip and sprinkler irrigation systems.

While describing the benefit of such pump set, Col. Vivek Mundkur of Atom Solar said that "The innovative DC model directly runs on power produced by solar panels without the need for batteries, costs less than a lakh rupees and is more durable than any other irrigation pump set models currently in use. Without any operational costs, this model provides an alternative to irrigation pump sets which run on grid electricity and diesel. I believe it has huge operational potential in Bihar."

The inauguration was attended by the Manish Kumar, Director BREDA, Sanjay Kumar Agarwal, District Magistrate Nalanda, Representatives of Bihar Renewable Energy Support Network, and Bihar Rural Livelihoods Project (BRLP) along with the residents of Kalyan Bigha.

Notes to Editors:

More details can be accessed at www.greenpeace.org/india

(i) Agriculture sector of Bihar- http://krishi.bih.nic.in/defolt1.ht

(ii) Agriculture productivity of Bihar- http://krishi.bih.nic.in/defolt1.ht

Photo link: http://photo.greenpeace.org/

For further information, please contact:

Munna Jha, Greenpeace India, 9570099300,

Arpana Udupa, Campaigner, Greenpeace India, 09535152000

Manish Ram, Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace India, 09741936701,