THAMNA (Anand): ‘Milk City’ Anand, the birthplace of milk co-operatives that had led to India’s White Revolution, is now inspiring another change — an ‘Orange Revolution’.
The district will be the home to India’s first solar co-operatives that will be run by farmers.
On Friday, Raman Parmar from Thamna village became the country’s first farmer to produce and sell solar power individually.
By connecting a solar-powered irrigation pump to electricity grid, Parmar got the first payment for his ‘solar crop’ in form of a cheque of Rs 7,500 from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI).
Through an eight kWh grid-tied solar system on 60 sq m to 80 sq m land, Parmar has generated a surplus 1,500 kWh of solar energy in last four months.
Citing Parmar’s example, the IWMI is encouraging solar power as a remunerative crop (SPaRC) – the idea of harvesting solar power as the most lucrative crop.
“SPaRC is the first step to form Solar Pump Irrigators Co-operative Enterprise (SPICE), which will be a co-operative body of 40 to 50 farmers who will come together to grow and sell solar power like any other crop,” said IWMI’s Tushaar Shah, who led the pilot project in Anand.
IWMI estimates that a solar pump can generate 13,000 units of power per year worth Rs 65,000 on just 1/25th of a hectare. This will be a boon for marginal farmers too as the land requirement is not that high.
“Once successful, this co-operative can help farmers give up their conventional electricity source. They will have the option to sell energy to earn additional income,” said Shah.
“We are working closely with the Madhya Gujarat Vij Company Limited ( MGVCL) and Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute (GERMI) for this project,” said Shah.