The government recently announced a relief package of over Rs 341 billion for the agricultural community. One aspect of the policy calls for interest-free loans for farmers willing to convert their diesel-run tubewells onto solar energy. Pakistan is located in a region with ample sun energy that makes it suitable to utilise solar power technologies.
The conversion of tube wells onto solar energy shall help reduce long term costs for the farmers; provide a predictable supply of electricity, and a hedge against market fuel price volatility. This shall further help mitigate harmful emissions. According to an estimate, per hour cost of running an average-sized tube well on electricity is Rs 138, on diesel it is Rs 173 and on solar energy it is Rs 83. Farmers who have tube-wells with less than 50 feet water table can save Rs 131 per hour and hence Rs 314,400 per year with solar tube-wells compare to diesel-run tube wells.
Inam ur Rahman, CEO, Reon Energy Limited states, “The electricity supply to the rural communities remains negligible due to the enormous energy supply-demand gap in the country. Solar tube-wells are now becoming increasingly affordable and can be deployed for both Open Flood Irrigation and Drip Irrigation methods. Through its solar tube-well solutions, Reon has already initiated change in the agricultural sector.” Reon Energy Limited is the renewable energy division of Dawood Hercules Limited – the single largest private sector energy provider in Pakistan.
Inam also said that conservative estimates by experts had indicated that the agricultural yield in Pakistan could be increased more than 20 percent only by having timely availability of water. Of course, if farmers have water supply in their own control, through the use of solar tube-wells,