Rajasthan’s history and visual appeal is matched only by the indomitable spirit of its once warrior-clan who brave its hot desert climate, living off the spare fruits of their land. They are cattle herders and nomadic traders, performers and of course, farmers. Within this fairly traditional society, poverty and illiteracy are widespread.
Under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), the government decided to install 10,000 solar pumps across the state, taking advantage of the many hours of sunlight it receives. This was aimed at reducing the high dependence on grid electricity and intermittent canal water supply.
Tata Power Solar (TPS), in collaboration with the government, spearheaded the efforts by providing solar water pumps to farmers with an 86% subsidy. With the high efficiency TPS solar water pumps, the 14% cost that the farmer pays is recovered from savings on power as well as labor, and the efficiency these solar pumps bring to irrigation. A 3hp (Horsepower) solar water pump saves approximately 15-20 units of power every day. In addition to maintenance for 5 years after installation, TPS trains and appoints local technicians for the upkeep of the pump. This initiative has not only made water more accessible but also created employment opportunities for the community that was otherwise dependant on animal husbandry. Not only are the farmers no longer dependant on the vagaries of the grid power, but are also able to save significantly on their electricity bill. Women folk too partake in irrigation along with the men. Their time is spent on other activities like education, handicrafts or food gathering rather than walking long distances in search of water.
Jaipur districtThe 10th most populous district in India, Jaipur’s denizens are divided equally between its rural and urban areas. The rural population makes a living out of daily wage labor in fields, brickwork, etc., as well as farming and horticulture. Electricity is limited and expensive, often available only during late afternoons and evenings. Farmers had to depend on diesel to run their water pumps during the day until the advent of Saawan™, the TPS solar water pump.Nayabas Village
The Choudhary family Kalyan Singh and Gopi Ram, are brothers who jointly cultivate their fields. The blue TPS panels in their fields sit amidst their herd of 20 cattle.
The Choudhary family The 4 hours of electricity they received earlier was never enough to irrigate the fields adequately. Now the pump can be used longer and saves Rs 2000 a month on power bills
The Choudhary family Kalyan Singh’s 12 year old son Anil skips through the fields, avoiding the water from the sprinklers.
The Choudhary family Saroj, Gopi Ram’s wife, prepares lunch for the whole family with her niece Ritu, who is a 20 year old college student
The Yadav family The solar pump is a “miracle” for Jagannath Yadav. His half acre of mustard and vegetables has flourished and his power bills have reduced substantially
The Yadav family Sundari is Jagannath’s wife. They have 5 children. Sundari takes care of the buffaloes, but also pitches in on the fields
The Yadav family The TPS technician installs the AC solar pump, while Nathuram Bhairuram watches intently.
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The Devanda family Besides farming, Devanda also maintains the trees and water tanks at the government school where his daughter Jyothi studies. Mukesh, his eldest son runs a mobile phone repair and accessory shop.
The Devanda family His next venture is to start groundwater-saving drip irrigation, which solar pumps complement beautifully
The Devanda family People from all around Rajasthan visit Ramesh Chandra Devanda to learn about TPS modules, which he was among the first to own.