Gujarat Chief Minister announces Suryashakti Kisan Yojana ( SKY ) for farmers

Gandhinagar: Gujarat Chief Minister today announced Suryashakti Kisan Yojana (SKY) for farmers. The Yojana is for 26 lakh farmers who are existing consumers of power companies. The farmers will be given solar panel to generate solar power in their farms. The name of related feeder will be known as Sky feeder. Farmers will need to pay minimum 5% of total cost. More he increases his share, more he will benefit in terms of repayment of loan. The government will bear 60% share of total cost of the project. 35% share will be repaid by beneficiary farmer in 7-year period. Farmer will be given solar panel little above the match of horse power consumption estimate so that farmer can earn from selling power generated. Loan rate will be in range of 4.5% to 6%.

Farmers under Sky feeders will get 12-hour power in daylight without low voltage related problems. Regular farmers get 8-hour power in night. A farmer will need 10 sq ft space in his farm not necessary a square place. Solar panel can be set up even on the border area of farm. If some farmer needs more KW solar panel in farm, it will be approved but without subsidy and for Rs 3.5 crore per unit purchase rate. Beneficiaries will need to form a committee of farmers. State power company GUVNL will contact the chief and office bearers of committee for any issue or update.

Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said this is the second major government scheme after Jyotigram in power sector. He said Congress people were making fun of Jyotigram Yojana that ensured 24-hour power supply to non-agriculture sector in rural areas. They were questioning whether it was possible, but it happened. Rupani said SKY is not just a scheme for free-power supply for farmers but even more than that. They will even earn from this scheme. While farmers seek 10 hours power supply instead of 8-hours, we are going to ensure 12-hour power supply with this scheme. This initiative will not just save power but also water, because farmer will lift water only as per his need. Saving more power would earn him more.

Rupani said the scheme will avail clean energy and green energy. It will reduce dependency on thermal power. He said the infrastructure, tendering etc process for launch of the scheme are completed. He said the works for this scheme will start at feeder level with effect from Monday, July 2nd. Prior to that, the tasks such as preparations for scheme, its publicity etc will take place. Rupani said the company responsible has given guarantee for 7 years with maintenance service for free for that period. The pact will be for 25 years. There will be no change in rates in that entire period.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel said, at present the farmers in North Gujarat use 55 to 75 HP while in Saurashtra they use 10-15 HP power for irrigation. There are 15 lakh farmers who consume power. Each year the state government connects more than 1 lakh farmers to power network. Supplying power to farmers would involve technical and financial aspects. The government bears Rs 1 lakh burden per agriculture power connection. The government also gives subsidy later. Considering there are 15 lakh farmers, the government bears subsidy burden of Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,000 crore every year. In SKY scheme, the government will invest in initial phase. Chief Minister held meeting with NABARD chairman and got the loan sanctioned. Fearing that the loan process will be difficult for farmers, the Gujarat government will take loan and in the first phase, farmers will need to pay only 5% upfront amount. Rest will be loan and subsidy.

Energy minister Saurabh Patel said, 46 parties responded to tender notice, 31 passed through and 20 companies were selected for the scheme. He said, in the first phase pilot project, the government will install 137 feeders at a cost of Rs 870 crore in size of 1,42,000 HP or 175 mw power generation. He said talks were already on with farmers. He said farmers will be able to do farming even below the solar panel. He will be able to adjust its height. Transmission network will involve existing system. As the government is going to purchase additional power generated at Rs 3.5 per unit, farmers will get their investment back in 8 to 18 months period. During cloudy atmosphere, if solar power generation is lesser, the farmer will continue to get power through conventional system using same network.

Official note from Gujarat govt on SKY

Gandhinagar: To open the gates of economic growth for the farmers through use of solar energy in irrigation and farming, Gujarat Government, led by Chief Minister Mr. Vijaybhai Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Mr. Nitinbhai Patel, on Saturday announced Suryashakti Kishan Yojna (SKY).

The announcement was made by the Chief Minister, in the presence of Deputy Chief Minister, Energy Minister Mr. Saurabhbhai Patel, at a press conference held in Gandhinagar.

Energy Minister stated that the ‘SKY’ would be an able element in fulfilling Prime Minister Mr. Narendrabhai Modi’s pledge to double the income of farmers by year-2022. It would be a win-win situation for both farmers and government as well because the extra power generated by the farmers through solar panels set-up in his farms can be sold to power companies in the state to generate additional income.

The investment by the farmers for availing the benefits of the SKY would be recovered within 8 to 18 months through selling of extra electricity generated. It would provide ample waters and electricity for 12-hours to the farmers, beside additional income through generating extra electricity. The SKY would also produce pollution free power, he said.

Giving further details of the SKY, the energy minister said that the farmers will have to spend only 5 % amount of the total expenditure of installing the SKY. The Central and State Governments would pay 60 % amount as a subsidy. While remaining 35% amount would be a loan to farmer, interest on which would be paid by the state government. Loan’s total time duration would be of 7-years. The electricity generated through extra panels would be purchased from the farmers at a rate of Rs. 3.50 per unit. The farmers joining the SKY must form a committee per feeder. The SKY-feeder would provide electricity for 12-hour to its members. The non-member farmers would get electricity for 8-hours only. The extra electricity, after the use, given to grid would be purchased at a rate of Rs. 7 per unit. Of this, Rs. 3.50 would be paid by Electricity Distribution Company and Rs. 3.50 per unit (maximum limit of 1000 units every year) by state government as a subsidy. Of this amount, after deducting the loan installment, the remaining money will be deposited directly into the bank account of the farmers. After loan period of 7-years, the extra power given to the grid would be purchased at a rate of Rs. 3.50 per unit for next 18-years by the Distribution Company.

He said the state government has decided to include the SKY as a pilot project in 137 feeders of all the 33 districts of the state. At present these 137 feeders are providing electricity to 12,400 farmers and 142,000 horsepower electricity is being used. It is estimated that the pilot projects would cost Rs. 870-Crore.