ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Will Solar Pumps Achieve?

Managing Groundwater–Energy Nexus in India

The fresh arguments made by Shilp Verma and others in support of the “SpaRC” model, as a solution for India’s multiple problems of groundwater depletion, farmer distress, poor financial working of the power sector and growing carbon footprint in agriculture are misleading, and the analyses presented to back them are flawed.


In the rejoinder note on the discussion by Meera Sahasranaman et al (2018), Shilp Verma et al (2019) awkwardly sing the chorus to the arguments made by Tushar Shah et al (2017) that one way to reverse the trend of depleting groundwater and increasing farm power subsidy (which is draining power utilities) is to “promote” “Solar Power as a Remunerative Crop” (SPaRC) among far­mers by (i) using solar irrigation pumps (SIPs) to replace grid-connected electric tube wells, and (ii) offering SIP owners a buyback guarantee for their surplus solar energy at a remunerative price. Such a policy would create an ­incentive for farmers to conserve energy and water, curtail grid power subsidies that burden distribution companies, red­uce carbon footprint of irrigation and offer farmers a new risk-free income source (Verma et al 2019: 62). Unfortunately, the authors fail to present any new evidence, wilfully closing their eyes and ears to the facts that run contrary to their claim that a heavily subsidised ­solar photovoltaic (PV) system with a feed-in tariff would be economically viable.

Viability Question

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Updated On : 15th Mar, 2021


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