The Indian government has introduced the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan, commonly known as the PM KUSUM scheme, to promote solar power production and provide farmers with solar farming benefits. This initiative, overseen by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, includes the distribution of 1.75 million off-grid agricultural solar pumps and the establishment of 10,000 megawatts solar plants on barren lands.
The primary goal of the PM KUSUM scheme is to increase the share of installed electric power capacity from non-fossil-fuel sources to 40 percent by 2030. It is one of the largest initiatives globally aimed at empowering farmers with renewable energy by solarizing their agricultural pumps. The scheme received administrative approval in March 2019 and saw the drafting of guidelines in July 2019. It aligns with a five-year plan to generate up to 28,250 megawatts of decentralized solar energy production.
- Additional Income for Farmers: The PM KUSUM scheme allows farmers to earn extra income by selling surplus power to the grid through solar power projects established on their unproductive lands.
- Autonomous Solar Pumps: The scheme expanded in the 2020-21 budget to provide assistance for the installation of autonomous solar pumps for 20 lakh farmers. This empowers them to generate solar energy on barren land and sell it to the grid.
- De-dieseling of Agriculture: The scheme aims to reduce the dependency on diesel pumps in India’s agricultural sector by replacing them with solar-powered alternatives.
The implementation of the PM KUSUM scheme is expected to create employment opportunities. Studies indicate that approximately 24.50 job-years are generated per megawatt of modest capacity solar installation. This demonstrates the potential for job growth and economic development as a result of the scheme.
In summary, the PM KUSUM scheme represents a significant government initiative to boost solar power production, provide additional income to farmers, and reduce the environmental impact of diesel-powered pumps in agriculture. It also holds the potential to create job opportunities and contribute to India’s renewable energy goals.