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Solar Power Generation to Pump Water

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Pumping water is a universal need around the world and the use of photovoltaic power is increasing for this application. PV powered pumping systems offer simplicity, reliability, and low maintenance for a broad range of applications between hand pumps and large generator driven irrigation pumps. The solar PV powered water-pumping system (DC Surface suction, DC floating, and DC or AC submersibles) can offer a veritable panacea to the problem of finding power to pump water for irrigation in India. Typical pump systems in India are of the DC surface suction type (approximately 86% of solar pumping systems installed in India), DC submersible type (2%), DC floating type (2%), and AC submersible (10%). The system for solar pumping depends on the nature of the well: deep well, bore well, open well etc.

Regardless of the type of pump used, water is usually stored in a tank or reservoir for use at other times. Most pumping systems do not include batteries for on-demand water. However, batteries are sometimes used in systems where pumping time must be controlled because of low water demand or low source capacity.

India has about 15 million grid-powered pump-sets and close to 7 million diesel-powered pumps. However, only about 7500 solar pumping systems have been installed for agricultural use in India.

The problems with the grid-powered pumping systems are: 

  • Demand for electrical energy far outstrips supply, and the gap continues to widen
  • It is proving increasingly difficult for the government  to continue subsidizing the rising costs of generation, transmission and distribution losses, pilferage, etc (to deliver 3600 kWh to a farmer to pump water, 7000 kWh is required to be generated, assuming a diversity factor 2). The loss of revenue to the government is colossal.
  • The capital cost to the government to provide an electrical connection for a single pump-set of 3 hp capacity (sufficient for 2 hectares) is estimated at Rs 1.37 lakh by Andhra Pradesh Transco (2002 figures)
  • The costs and tariffs of electricity continue to rise – the marginal farmer is unable to pay for the electricity)
  • Grid power is unreliable and of poor quality, often leading to motor burnouts at the tail end.
  • In a coal-fired thermal generating station, 1 kWh of electrical energy generated translates to 11.2 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission a year.



  • Irrigation
  • Village Water Supply
  • Stock Watering
  • Drinking water
  • Agriculture related use
  • Horticulture
  • Animal Husbandry
  • Poultry farming
  • High value crops
  • Orchard
  • Farming


  • Farmers /Ranchers
  • Villages

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