Rajasthan Move To Use Solar Energy for Water Pilot Project in 200 Villages

The move by Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation Limited (RRECL) could open up opportunities, and the doors to an integrated role for renewable energy in the central government’s biggest initiative for the coming three years, the  Jal Jeevan Mission, that targets to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024.  RRECL has approved a proposal to equip stand-alone mini-drinking water supply systems to 200 villages with solar power.

While the decision is in line with the state’s energy policy and 2021 budget that mandated the same, experience on the ground here will certainly help, especially now that the state has a well-established supplier ecosystem as well as experience with solar projects.

“The pilot project will reduce the dependence of rural areas. They will be relieved of energy costs for drinking water and worries of power outages. The solarisation of water pumps will also help the government in saving electricity, money and the environment,” RRECL Chairman Subodh Agarwal said.

As per the statement, the locations have been identified from a list of 248 areas specified by the Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED).

The previous such mission mode effort of the government, to provide a power connection to every household in the country, or the SAUBHAGYA scheme, had not really utilised solar, especially off-grid options, due to perceived cost issues, besides an obsession with connectivity to the central grid.

The PM-KUSUM scheme already subsidises and is being adopted by the state’s farmers for their irrigation needs, besides a possible source of income on days when solar pumps will not really be required.

Out of 191 million rural households, 5 million have already been provided tap water. As the remaining get closer, one hopes that the new realities of solar costs will help achieve it with much more use of renewable energy.

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