Mobile solar panels and solar on rent helping Indian farmers
Mobile or portable solar panels are exactly what the name suggests, they are small-sized portable panels that can be carried along to power devices on the move.
Portable solar panels are the best way to power small electrical appliances like portable lights, cell phones, laptops, cameras, and more. These panels take up very little room and are incredibly lightweight.
When compared to solar panels, however, portable solar panels are considered to have a limited power output. Portable solar panels are made up of photovoltaic cells and are used to collect and transform solar energy into electricity. In order to store the energy generated by the sun, the portable panels are next connected to one another and to a battery. Electronics can then be powered by this energy in the same way that batteries are.
Irrigation challenges faced by farmers
It is challenging for many farmers in rural India to use the groundwater they require to grow crops outside of the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September. Renting pumps that run on diesel or kerosene is one way to farm during the dry months. After the monsoon season, the situation forces many farmers to leave their villages in order to pursue physically taxing migrant work, dividing families at a time when crop prices are at their highest due to a lack of supply.
Innovation by entrepreneurs, startups, and institutes
Back in 2019, Diwakar an entrepreneur in Jharkhand came up with the idea of renting solar pumping systems to farmers. Farmers can now more affordably access water from nearby sources or boreholes thanks to the rentable mobile solar pumping system’s lower costs.
Khethworks, a startup founded by MIT, started selling a 320-watt solar-powered water pump in India at the end of 2019. The pump enabled Indian farmers with their irrigation who depend on crop harvests to provide for their families to farm all year round as opposed to just during the four-month monsoon season. The product has begun to improve the lives of underprivileged farmers in India in just a few short months, uplifting families and having an impact on entire villages.
The Kethwork pump is made up of two solar panels, a controller, and a submersible centrifugal solar pump. Farmers must first connect the panels, pumps, and controller before connecting the pump to the field piping, submerging it in water, and turning it on. The curved, triangular channels of the pump are rotated by solar energy. Fluid is forced from the center axis to the ends of the channels when the pump is submerged in water, raising the water’s surface.
In 2022, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar designed and developed a solar-powered system for pumping water that can be easily moved from one farm to another. The system is helpful for pumping water in even remote areas and also for small-scale farmers who could pool money to use the equipment on a shared basis.
Karanki, a leader in this project, told pv magazine, “We have used a tractor trolley for the movable system. The trolley is designed to have a foldable structure to accommodate six panels. The trolley needs to be attached to the tractor head to move from one place to another. The system works with two different types of pumps, one submersible and the other surface-mounted. The surface mount is taken along with the solar photovoltaic system. Further, the movable structure is equipped with an inverter”.
The agriculture sector in India
As per the WRI-India, solar-powered water pumps can be considered an alternative to diesel pumps or electric pumps. The majority of farmers irrigate their fields with pricey, polluting diesel, kerosene, or electric pumps and infrequent, unreliable rain. Furthermore, these pumps are not advantageous economically or environmentally for the farmers, who need to irrigate all year long. Farmers who are still without access to the electrical grid and who lack adequate irrigation systems have benefited from the adoption of solar energy through creative means.
According to India Brand Equity Foundation, India is one of the major players in the agricultural sector worldwide and is the primary source of livelihood for about 58% of the population. The agricultural sector in India holds the record for the second-largest agricultural land in the world. Hereford farmers become an integral part of the sector to provide us with means of sustenance.
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