New Delhi: The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has decided to include solarisation of agriculture feeders under Component-C of PM-KUSUM scheme based on discussions with states and has issued guidelines in this regard on Friday. According to an official statement released by the ministry, apart from separate agriculture feeders, feeders having major load for agriculture will also be considered for solarisation under the scheme. In addition, loans for feeder separation will also be made available from NABARD, Power Finance Corporation (PFC) and REC Limited.
"The Ministry of Power is also in the process of finalising a scheme to provide assistance for feeder separation. The savings on account of electricity subsidy on agriculture and the income from the surplus electricity generated by the solar power plant when it is not being used for irrigation can also be used to pay off the loan taken for feeder separation," said the statement.
The distribution company (DISCOM) or the Power Department will be the implementing agency for feeder-level solarisation in their respective areas. However, state governments may appoint any other expert agency to help DISCOMs for tendering and other related activities of installation of solar power plant for feeder-level solarisation, the MNRE said.
"Where agriculture feeders have already been separated, the feeders may be solarised under the scheme. This will lead to lower cost both in terms of lower capital cost and cost of power. Feeders having major load for agriculture may also be considered for solarisation under the scheme. The requirement of total annual power for an agriculture feeder will be assessed and a solar power plant of capacity that can cater to the requirement of annual power for that agriculture feeder can be installed either through CAPEX mode or RESCO mode, which will supply solar power to that feeder," said the ministry.
For example, for a feeder having annual power requirement of say 10 lakh units, power can be supplied by solar power plants of around 600 kW capacity, with CUF of 19 percent. Higher or lower CUF, depending upon the average solar insolation available in the areas, may be considered for assessing solar power capacity.
Feeder-level solar power plant may be installed to cater to the requirement of power for a single feeder or for multiple agriculture feeders emanating from a distribution sub-station (DSS) to feed power at 11 kV or at the higher voltage level side of the DSS depending upon on factors like availability of land, technical feasibility, etc, and there is no cap of the capacity of solar power plant for feeder level solarisation, said MNRE.
DISCOMs may identify land near DSS, get ownership of land or its lease rights, provide connectivity at DSS and lay sub-transmission line between DSS and solar power plant. For the purpose of calculating CFA, the cost of installation of solar power plant has been estimated as Rs 3.5 crore/MW, said the ministry. Under the scheme, solarisation of pumps of any capacity is allowed, however, in the case of pumps of capacity above 7.5 HP, the central financial assistance (CFA) will be limited to solar capacity for 7.5 HP pumps.
The state may choose to install feeder level solar power plant of capacity higher than capacity required for supplying power to agriculture feeder, said the minsitry. The additional solar power generated may be used for supplying nearby rural/urban loads during day time or alternatively stored/banked for supplying power during evening hours for lighting/induction cooking and other household purposes. However, in this case, CFA will be limited for solar capacity required for supplying power to the agriculture feeder, said the government.
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