Solar Pumps: An insight of its simplicity!
21st May 2018
Farming in India dates back to Indus valley civilization (3300 - 1300 BCE) where it was one of our primary occupation and source of income. Today India ranks second in the globe in cumulative farm output. It is also believed that around country's 50% of workforce is indulged in farming which still makes it one of our important occupation. There are two basic yet important components of agriculture i.e. water and electricity. The electricity drives the pump which drives the water either from bore-well, and/or water bodies to the farm at desired throughput.This pump may alternatively run either on conventional fuel sources for generation of electricity. This makes the farmer dependent on electricity/continuous availability of fuel to ensure smooth operation of the pump. With almost scarcity in supply of electricity and availability of fuel at relatively higher rates, an alternate solution in this filed was needed. With advancement of utilizing solar irradiation to generate electricity, solar pumps have started emerging to be one of better solutions to this industry. Additionally the power output from the solar PV panel is in conjunction with the requirement of an agricultural pump which has paved way for utilization of solar pump. A solar pump as the name suggest (Figure 1)is the one which relies on solar photovoltaic (PV) panel for electricity. While the output of the panel may directly be fed into the pump, (almost all the time) a converter/inverter is provided to ensure that the required input power for the pump is achieved and maintained constantly. With its advantages in mind, this blog aims to educate its reader on basic introduction on solar pumps and its technical requirements.
Figure 1: A solar pumpinstalled by Waaree Energies in operation
A typical solar pump is as shown in Figure 2whose typical components are discussed below:
Figure 2: A typical solar pump (Source: Waaree Energies)
Figure 3: A typical double axis solar tracker (Source: Google images)
The above parts are among the standard solar system. However considering the solar pumps (other than AC & DC)they can be classified based on their placement which is as under:
Figure 4: A typical surface pump (Source: Google images)
Figure 5: A typical submersible pump (Source: Google images)
While the technology is in place, it still needs support from the government. This is primarily due to the fact that the farmers cannot afford such high upfront costs for solar pumps. There are various schemes available from banks like National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), commercial banks, state cooperative agricultural rural development banks (SCARDBs) which provide finance for solar powered pumps. MNRE in the past had also provided upfront capital subsidy via NABARDhowever it was stopped on 15th March, 2017. Now in order to bolster the off-grid power production and support solar pumps in agriculture, the Govt. of India in the Union budget of 2018-19 have declared new scheme for solar pumps namely KisanUrjaSurakshaevamUtthaanMahabhiyan (KUSUM). It is envisaged that the farmer would have to pay only 10% of the capital cost for the solar pump with the balance amount being supported from both state and central government. Additionally, such scheme shall also boost the power generation capacity of the country while also allowing the DISCOM to fulfill their Solar RPO. This scheme shall initially focus only on converting diesel pumps to solar pumps however we could expect something for new solar pumps as well.
In order to ensure that the right quality of system is delivered to end consumers MNRE has provided with the technical requirements of the system.The solar panel used in this system should be in accordance and certified as per IEC 61215, 61730 and their equivalent certificates. It is also expected that the solar modules should be of 13% efficiency with a minimum fill factor of 70%. The MMS should be a dual axis tracking system to efficiency track the sun and should be capable of withstanding load of module and wind velocity of up to 150 kmph. The technical specifications of pumps can be found here. However, we expect that with the release of KUSUM scheme the specifications (few of them) shall be changed/updated because of technical advancements.
Waaree has been providing solar water pumping solutions, thanks to its efficient and highly reliable solar modules. These solar pumping system have been tested and proven cost effective and reliable. Additionally with development of our AC modules and highly efficient PERC modules the solar pumping system would see considerable change in its operational efficiency.
Let us all pledge to make solar energy the primary source of energy in the near future.
RAHE ROSHAN HAMARA NATION