In lines with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to double farmers’ income by 2022, Gujarat Government has announced a dedicated Solar Power Scheme— ‘Suryashakti Kisan Yojana’ (SKY)—to encourage farmers to generate electricity by installing solar panels in their farms. As per the first-of-its-kind scheme, farmers will have to shell out only 5 per cent of the total cost of solar panels. Central and State government will give 60 per cent subsidy and the Gujarat Government would take loan for remaining 35 per cent for seven years on behalf of farmers. “SKY is aimed at leading peasants towards prosperity. Now farmers would be able to generate electricity in their own farms for their requirements and they would be allowed to sale excess electricity to the State Government at Rs 7 per unit for first seven years and Rs 18 per unit for next 18 years,” said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani adding that farmers investment would come back within eight to 18 months.
According to Gujarat’s energy minister Saurabh Patel the scheme would be officially launched on July 2 and in the pilot project 137 feeders in all 33 districts across the State included. As part of the pilot project 12400 farmers would be eligible to get solar panel through these 137 feeders where 1.42 lakh HP power is being consumed. Cost of the pilot project would be Rs 870 crore. SKY would create win-win situation for farmers as well as the state government as additional generation of electricity would be purchased by the state owned Electricity Companies and in exchange peasants would get extra income, said Patel. With the generation of solar power in farms, the farmers of Gujarat would get electricity during the day time for almost 12 hours, claimed the minister adding that all the farmers who are availing electricity through feeders would be eligible for the scheme. Per 1 Horse Power (HP), farmers would be given 1.25 HP worth solar penal. For 10 HP connections, farmers would get 12.5 HP solar panels. In case farmers would apply for more HP, permission would be entitled as per the rules. 10 sq feet space require for 1 KW solar panel. The farmers can take crop under solar panels also, hence there would be no wastage of land.