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‘Solar farmers’ of Gujarat’s Dhundi village are making global headlines, here is why

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Gujarat on May 28, will attend a conclave on the co-operative sector in Gandhinagar.

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Gujarat on May 28, will attend a conclave on the co-operative sector in Gandhinagar. Home Minister Amit Shah will also accompany him on the trip.

What assumes more significance to Prime Minister’s visit is the global spotlight that the co-operative led by ‘solar farmers’ of Dhundi village are getting. Here, the farmers have set a new benchmark in producing solar energy not just for their agriculture but are also generating income by selling ‘extra’ solar power.

Today, Dhundi village of Kheda district is a famed location on Gujarat map and is making global headlines. The solar revolution began here in 2016 when a group of 6 farmers formed a co-operative to generate solar energy. Over the years, the co-operative not just ensured production of solar power but has also transformed the village into a ‘solar model village’.

Owing to success of the model, many farmers have joined the initiative and are now harnessing it to the hilt. Farmers are using solar power to run irrigation pumps and also selling the surplus energy generated from these solar panels to Madhya Gujarat Vij Company, a leading power discom of the state.

During his visit, the Prime Minister is set to address the conclave of co-operative sector and is likely to applaud this endeavour of farmers.

Those in the knowhow of operations say that the co-operative also has plans of expanding the electricity supply to nearby hospitals & dispensaries.

‘Solar farming’ started in 2016, farmers earning lakhs

The Cooperative Enterprise dedicated to producing solar power was set up by 6 farmers in February 2016. A year later, 3 more farmers joined the co-operative. The cooperative was formed with the assistance of the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a Colombo-based non-profit scientific research organisation and it was named as “Dhundi Saur Urja Utpadak Sahakari Mandali” (DSUUSM).

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Today, 9 farmers of the village are earning 1.5 lakh by selling excess energy to Gujarat Power Company limited.

MGVCL to buy electricity for 25 years

In the village, there are a total of 20 plants, including 3 plants of 10.8 KWhs, 3 plants of 8 KWhs, 3 plants of 5 KWhs, and 9 plants of 71.4 KWhs. All plants can together produce 350 KW units of solar energy. Farmers use the energy for personal needs and the surplus is sold to MGVCL at a rate of 4.63 rupees. The power is sold under a Purchase Power Agreement (PPA) with the company for 25 years.

Benefits of Solar Pump

Talking about the benefits of Solar Pump, the farmers say that this has changed their lives as they do not have to depend on diesel-run generators or pumpsets to irrigate their lands. The technology also helps them to save about Rs 20,000 each month. After this, they can also sell the excess amount of energy, earning at least Rs 5,000 per mont

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