The government has planned to purchase unconsumed or surplus electricity from solar-run irrigation pumps across the country aiming to promote renewable energy.
“We’ve prepared a draft policy to purchase such electricity from pump operators. But, the policy will be finalised after a meeting with stakeholders,” said Siddique Zobair, additional secretary of Power Division and a member of Sustainable and Renewable Energy Development Authority (Sreda).
Sreda has been set up as a new government body to promote renewable energy across the country to achieve the target to generate 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources.
It has already introduced a policy to purchase unconsumed or surplus electricity from rooftop solar producers under a “net metering system” which has received an overwhelming response from industrial consumers.
As per the latest statistic of the Power Division, different distribution entities are now purchasing over 4.25 MW of electricity from 179 industrial consumers.
Siddique Zobair said the government has been moving with the idea of purchasing electricity from solar irrigation pump operators with two main objectives.
Zobair said the first thing is to make sure optimum utilisation of electricity being generated from solar plants installed for the operation of irrigation pumps. “And the second objective is to make the solar irrigation pump projects commercially viable,” he noted.
Officials at Sreda said the country has currently around 1.34 million diesel-operated irrigation pumps across the country which covers 3.4 million hectares of land.
The government has targeted to replace these diesel-operated pumps with solar ones which will ensure 150 MW of energy generation from irrigation sector.
The officials said that 1,100 diesel-fired pumps have so far replaced with solar-operated pumps.
State-owned financial institution Infrastructure Development Company Limited (Idcol) has financed the projects while some NGOs and commercial firms installed the solar pumps with a tripartite arrangement in this regard.
Officials said a major portion of the year such pumps remain idle or out of operation for lack of irrigation.
As a result, the electricity being generated from the solar plants of such pumps remained unconsumed which is a big misuse of energy, said an official.
Secondly, he said, these pump operators also need some support to make the venture fully commercial.
If the projects are proven to be commercially viable, then many people will be encouraged to replace the diesel-fired pumps with solar-operated ones, the official said.
He said the success in net metering system has prompted the government to introduce the similar method for solar irrigation pumps.unb