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Study: Solar energy based agro activities can help Jharkhand save over 12k crores in 15 years

Ranchi: Transitioning towards solar energy for agriculture and allied activities by cutting down on conventional method of energy consumption would help Jharkhand save up to Rs 12,465 crore in the next 15 years. A vision document and prepared for energy transition in agriculture sector which was prepared jointly by the Jharkhand Renewable Energy Development Agency (JREDA) and Centre for Environment and Energy Development (CEED) in association with Central University of Jharkhand (CUJ) has further stated that infusion of solar energy into the agro-value chain would also result in cutting down of carbon dioxide emission (O2) in tune of whopping 36.4 million tonnes in next decade and a half.

Jharkhand’s agriculture, animal husbandry and cooperative department Badal Patralekh on Friday formally unveiled the vision document cum road map at a programme on energy transition at a city hotel.

Lauding the roadmap, Patralekh said, “This document chalks out a strategic path for increasing agro productivity and promoting enterprising activities through sustainable means. The state government is committed to uplift the morale of farmers and keen to strengthen the farming practices through suitable programs and schemes. We look forward to the key recommendations of the report and will try to incorporate them.”

This report notes that by solarising the agriculture process, the state government will be able to save around Rs 12,465 crores along with adding a solar capacity of 4250 MW. In the distressing times of climate impacts, cleaner energy sources like renewables can bring several environmental co-benefits. On the other hand, solarisation can also be instrumental in avoiding CO2 emissions of more than 36.4 million tonnes in next 15 years.

“Solarisation of 2,34,000 grid connected pumps and installation of 4,05,447 stand alone off-grid solar pumps can cater to the demand of around 700 MW. For augmenting the logistic infrastructure in the rural regions, installation of 8343 micro cold storages can create a cumulative storage capacity of 3.64 lakh metric tonne during 2021-22 to 2037-38,” added the report, noting further that development of 81,000 warehouses facilities in villages can lead to a solar rooftop potential of 160 MWp in the state.

K.K. Verma, director, JREDA said, “As a state nodal agency for renewable energy, we are committed to promote this in every sphere of economic activities. This roadmap is a step towards achieving this. Solarisation is an exciting opportunity which can be materialised through separate agriculture solar feeders, solar irrigation pumps, solar rooftop based cold storage infrastructure and various rural enterprising activities catalysed through Decentralised Renewable Energy (DRE) based solutions. JREDA will take the lead in facilitating tech know-how, capacity building and training support to the farmers and rural entrepreneurs to bring noticeable change in the overall farming practices.”

Ramapati Kumar, CEO of CEED said, “The roadmap brings a compelling economic argument in favour of solarisation of agriculture, which can save around Rs 12,465 crores to the state exchequer. Considering agriculture is the key driver of the economy, the state government must initiate a ‘Sustainable Agriculture Mission’ to rejuvenate the sector.”  

The programme was attended by key representatives of government departments, renewable energy developers and innovators, farmers producers, think-tanks, civil society organisations, academia and other key stakeholders across the state.