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Suryashakti Kisan Yojna: Gujarat Govt launches solar scheme

With an aim to generate additional income for farmers, the state government on Saturday launched Suryashakti Kisan Yojna (SKY) under which grid-connected solar panels will be provided to over 12,000 cultivators who have already taken regular electricity connections for irrigation purpose.

“This is for the first time in the country that farmers will be able to produce solar energy, consume as much as they need and sell the remaining. This is a revolutionary step after Jyoti Gram Yojna that brought round-the-clock electricity in the villages,” Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said at the launch of the scheme.

“Using solar panels, which will be connected to the feeders, farmers would get 12 hours of power supply for their pumps during the day time. At present, farmers get eight hours of supply, that too during the night hours… The biggest advantage of this project is that the farmers, after using required electricity generated from solar panels, can sell additional electricity to the government and earn good income out of it,” he said.

The scheme is a step towards realising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of doubling farmer income by 2022, the CM added. The pilot project, estimated to cost Rs 870 crore, will cover 12,400 cultivators and will be launched from July 2, said Rupani.

The project will have 137 feeders located at different places in 33 districts, capable of generating 175 mega watts electricity through solar panels, he added.

Energy Minister Saurabh Patel said the government will bear 60 per cent, while farmers will have to shell out only 5 per cent cost of setting up solar panels in their fields under the scheme, which will have a duration of 25 years.

“For the remaining 35 per cent cost, farmers will be given the option of a low-interest loan, which they have to pay in seven years. During that period, the government will buy electricity from them at Rs 7 per unit. For the next 18 years, we will buy additional electricity at Rs 3.5 per unit,” Patel said.

“We have devised the scheme in such as way that farmers will get back their total investment in 8 to 18 months. After that, they will earn good income by selling electricity to us. In a way, we will be buying electricity from them for 25 years,” he added.