India is planning to use the International Solar Alliance (ISA), an initiative that was launched by them and France during the UN Climate Change Conference last year, to promote and market solar water pumps across all the emerging markets in the world.
“Many countries are not even aware of solar pumps,” said Upendra Tripathy, the secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), who also happens to be the chairperson of the Interim Administrative cell of ISA. “We are planning pilot programmes in about 15-20 countries at our own cost, explaining their benefits and exporting about 100 pumps to each of them,” he continued.
Solar water pumps are basically great substitutes for electric and diesel pumps that are normally used by farmers to spray water to their fields. These machines are valued around RS 5-7 lakh ($10,099.30 AUD – $14,139.03) much higher than the costs of traditional pumps of similar capacity. For instance, a diesel pump with 3-5 horsepower, for example, can be bought for RS 30,000-50,000 ($605.96 AUD – $1,009.93 AUD), however, the price of the diesel used to fuel it for a year is actually greater than the actual cost of the machine itself.
Currently, India is said to be a world leader in the manufacture and distribution of solar water pumps used for both irrigation and drinking. In fact, they have almost 62,000 solar water pumps in operation across the country, with 13,964 units of these sold under the Solar Pumping Programme for Irrigation and Drinking Water program of MNRE. They as well have 19 solar pump manufacturers in their area and around 70 companies distributing them.
According to Tarun Kapoor, the joint secretary of MNRE, they are even willing to extend credit lines to other countries for them to acquire a larger number of solar water pumps from Indian manufacturers. “If asked for, we can also provide training in solar pump manufacture. We can have technical collaborations through the National Institute of Solar Energy or other institutions,” he said. “We will also familiarize these countries with our standards.”
Vinay Rustagi, the managing director at solar consultancy BRIDGE TO INDIA, meanwhile, also expressed his thoughts on the matter by saying that it is truly important to promote solar water pumps among the farmers.
“The government subsidised diesel for years since it is used by farmers to run their pumps and irrigate their fields,” Rustagi said. “Since diesel is largely imported, it has resulted in a large subsidy bill as well as a large power bill. Diesel use is also environmentally harmful. Solar pumps are costly, but it is good that the government is promoting them. They now want to replicate the scheme in African countries,” he continued.