In India, solar photovoltaics (PV), which is environmentally friendly and safer, is gaining popularity as a viable alternative to fossil fuels. With technological advancements in the last decade, India’s solar sector has made significant growth, with an installed capacity of 46.2 GW of the country’s total renewable energy (RE) capacity of 101.5 GW.
In 2019, the Government of India launched the Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan (KUSUM) scheme, intending to transform farmers into power producers. The scheme aims to install 17.5 lakh stand-alone solar-powered irrigation pumps and solarise 10 lakh existing grid-connected irrigation pumps, with a total decentralised solar capacity of 25,750 MW. Despite good intentions, KUSUM has failed to interest small and marginal farmers, currently receiving free or highly subsidised power. This is so because farmers have to invest 40%–70% of the capital cost in the KUSUM scheme, which is often unattractive.