The use of solar panels to power irrigation pumps in India has trebled in recent years. While providing a cleaner energy source than diesel pumps, this “free” energy could lead to unsustainable groundwater extraction. By giving farmers the opportunity to sell excess solar electricity back to the grid under a scheme called SPaRC, IWMI (International Water Management Institute) experts hope it will encourage them to pump only the water they need.
The buy-back scheme could also protect farm incomes in the event of crop failure, and if adopted widely, help relieve pressure on the state’s overburdened electricity board. This project is supported by the CGIAR Research Programs on Water, Land and Ecosystems and Climate Change and Food Security.
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Produced by: IWMI